How to distinguish your company with a customer focused culture
Let’s start with a few quotes that speak to the heart of what true customer service is:
“Good manners have much to do with emotions. To make them ring true, one must feel them, not merely exhibit them.” Amy Vanderbilt
“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners”.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”
“If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music… sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”
Martin Luther King
Your team must have the right mindset and a genuine desire to deliver excellent customer service. Having coached businesses for over 10 years, there are certain disciplines I’ve noticed most people acknowledge as true, which very few people follow through on which are essential to creating a company that consistently provides remarkable customer service.
1. Culture, Values and WHY you exist… must be Genuine
Culture is possibly the most critical component of your business. Start with core values that are non-negotiable to you. Qualities like urgency, honesty, frugality, creativity etc. These values should guide your team when you are not around. They must be real, explained and upheld. Your cause speaks to why you’re in business, for example, my company cause is: ‘To help SME Business Owners and their teams create quality lifestyles through business success’. Your culture is the outcome of the way your team operates as a result of your values and cause.
Discipline #1: List the values that are non-negotiable. Get clear on your Cause and why you’re in business. Finally, communicate and constantly remind your team why these are important and then live them on a daily basis.
2. Find, Keep and Grow the Right Team
Hiring the wrong people will cost you more in the long run. Skill is important, attitude is a non-negotiable. What kind of attitude? One that fits perfectly with your company culture, cause and values. When hiring, hold out for the right people to stand a chance of success and growth.
Discipline #2: Ensure your recruitment process allows you to find the right team members. Then provide support, guidance and leadership to allow them to grow within your company.
3. Focus on the Mission not the Commission
If your focus is purely on money, success may come, but the stability of it will be questionable. To quote Benjamin Franklin: “He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money. Like Amy Vanderbilt says in her quote, your customer service will be more exhibited than felt and your customers will pick up on that.
Discipline #3: Do the right things because it’s the right thing to do. That sentiment is often overlooked and underestimated. Do not compromise your company culture, cause and values, they are the things that will deliver you profit.
4. HOW and WHAT you are delivering
Build a great business model that genuinely helps people through fantastic products and do that in a way that leaves people feeling it was a pleasurable experience worth talking about.
Discipline #4: Educate your team on exactly what is expected of them to create an exceptional experience for your customers. Show them how to deliver your product and how to achieve the outcome the client is looking for. People very quickly forget wonderful customer service if the actual product delivery is poor. We’re emotional creatures, feelings stay with us.
5. Find, Keep and Grow the right Customers
‘The customer is always right’ is wrong. Some customers won’t fit your values and culture and they are free to shop elsewhere. This requires judgement, but when you’re clear on what you stand for, you’ll know who your ideal customers are. Don’t pander to a customer just because they have money in their pocket, remember, money is the bi-product.
Discipline #5: Look after the right customers exceedingly well. With the wrong customers, be OK with acknowledging you’re not a match (in a way you and your team feel most comfortable).
One final quote for you, (actually more of an insight) by Karl Popper, called the paradox of tolerance: “A tolerant society will be destroyed by its tolerance to intolerance”. Do not tolerate intolerance in your company when it comes to your culture, cause and values. Find team members who embrace those same values and accept nothing less and you’ll be well on your way to creating remarkable customer service and plenty of profit as a bi-product.
Eric J. Gregory is the Author of ‘Would you like Profits with that?’ and the founder of
Gregory Business & Trades Coaching which specialises in working with SME Business Owners
and Entrepreneurs. For more information about Eric and his company
Please see www.gregorybusinesscoaching.com.au