Culture is reflected in how people behave. It is a given if you want to change your culture, you must change behaviors. Leaders set the example as they demonstrate it’s about everyone’s behavior. Leadership has to be focused on the strategies that will have a lasting impact on the customer-focused culture. Here are strategies that need to be on your agenda.
- Talk purpose. Your team wants to know what the organization stands for and why it exists. They want to be a part of something meaningful, valuable and relevant. Facebook’s mission is “to make the world more open and connected.” Twitter is to give everyone the “power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” Google’s corporate slogan is “Don’t be evil.” Purpose matters. Talk about it and then live it everyday. It shows in how you behave. Keep purpose on your agenda, bring it to each meeting and incorporate it into decisions that affect the team, the customer and your bottom line.
- Train beyond the task. To be truly customer focused, arm your team with skills that put the customer first. Train employees on the task and technology required to serve customers responsively and quickly. However simply being technically competent is not enough to take care of today’s customer. Employees must be adept at relationship building, empathy, and effective listening. Customers want a real person who is skilled at handling issues the first time. Check your training and assess if it is updated to handle the ever changing fickle, savvy, demanding and impatient customer.
- Eliminate silos. This continues to be a concern for many organizations. The best ones know that silos can creep back in and revisit this issue on a regular basis. Customers expect the person or whatever channel they prefer to be responsive. Omnichannel is the norm now so there is very little tolerance for transfers and lack of shared knowledge. Technology enables a seamless interaction for those willing to make the investment. However management must make the required attitudinal changes to eliminate silo thinking.
- Stay focused to engage. It is the leader’s job to keep a strong customer focus on the agenda. That means talk about the customer at every meeting, measure customer satisfaction, share the customer voice and recognize team members who are making a difference. Engage your team by involving them in decisions, sharing information, giving relevant feedback and seeking their input and ideas.
- Execute daily. This is the behavior that gets skipped. Talk is easy; execution is not.
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About Lisa Ford
Lisa is well known for her work on customer issues. Her ideas help companies create customer-focused cultures and keep customers loyal. She is a speaker and author with over 20 years of experience presenting to businesses, associations and government. Lisa is the author of ‘How to Give Exceptional Customer Service’, the #1 selling DVD series in the US for over 3 years.