Customer service should not be its own department. It could be the way you do business.
Businesses can think about customer service as a part of their corporate culture. Customer service should not just be its own department. Customer service could be the way you do business. How you interact with employees, who in turn work with customers, sets the tone for who you are as a company. Creating a company who cares about both employees and customers changes the way you do business.
Customers not only want the quality products, but they also want to feel like they are part of the success of a quality company. Here are five day-to-day ways to create a culture within your business that encourage quality customer service:
1. Friendly Tone: If you hire people who already have this skill, then a friendly tone is a relatively easy activity. Friendliness of your people sets the tone for what your company stands for with regards to their interactions with people. People are more willing to connect with you and your business if they feel welcomed. Leaders should also set the example by using a warm tone with employees. This exhibits how you would like them to behave and also creates a work environment that supports friendly behavior at all levels of the organization.
2. Above and Beyond: You may not always be able to give the customer a resolution to their problem. However, you can offer them the sense that you have tried your best. When the people in your company go above and beyond the minimum expectations, they instill a sense of confidence with the customer. The customer feels like they are important to the success of the organization. This attitude, along with a heartfelt apology, lets the customer know that they matter. Leaders should give employees an incentive to go above and beyond. The actions of all levels of the organization set the tone for the company culture. Wanting the best for both employees and customers creates an environment of care. People who care go above and beyond to make a connection and address the well-being of others.
3. Words and Actions: When words and actions match, you build trust. This trust building occurs when the people in the company match their actions with words not only in what they do but how they do it. Make sure your actions match your brand so that you increase authenticity. Also, connect words to actions so that commitments become a reality. Customers want to know that when you say something, the actions will match. Leaders can create an atmosphere of trust for both employees and clients when they emphasize words and actions matching as part of the way to do business.
4. Be Truthful: It is easy to tell customers what they want to hear to try and make them feel better in the short-term. Even though people may not want to hear the answer, honesty with a little bit of care lets the customer know the truth of the situation. This understanding helps the client manage expectations for what can and can’t happen. Leaders can make this a part of a daily culture by emphasizing truthfulness as a way of doing business.
5. Actively Listen: One of the ways to actively listen is to repeat back what you have heard the person say when they voice a concern. The statement, “What I hear you say,” is a tried and tested expression to let someone know you are listening to them. Active listening lets the customer know that you are concerned about the situation. Leaders create an attitude of openness within the company when active listening occurs for both employees and customers. You won’t be able to make everyone happy, but when you take the time to listen you are showing people that they play a role in the success of your company.
These five elements of culture, when integrated into your daily work, take on the role of customer service. The culture you create in your business can give you the advantage for expanding your business and retaining customers. When these elements become embedded in the way leaders do business, then the culture changes how employees respond to customers. This trickle-down effect of behavior from the different levels of individuals connects the company to employees and customers, so that there is a connection to the enterprise.
Ronni Marshak and Patricia Seybold suggested in their book, The Customer Revolution, there is a customer revolution emerging, putting customers in more control of what they buy and how they buy it. With these changes on the horizon, the role of customer service is even more important. When customer service is a part of your daily behaviors, you increase the authenticity of your brand and create an environment that supports the value of the people to your business. You also increase the financial success of your company by connecting people more fully to your organization.
The White House Office of Consumer Affairs reported unhappy customers will tell an average of nine to 15 people about their experience and 13 percent of them tell more than 20. Visioncritical’s infographic identified key elements regarding the cost of an unhappy customer and showed the role of social media in bringing power to the customer. Totally satisfied customers contribute 2.6 times more revenue to business than customers who are somewhat satisfied. Ruby Newell-Legner in Understanding Customers stated it takes twelve positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. When customer service is a part of your company culture, you create an environment that encourages success.