Savannah has over eight years of hotel management experience and holds a master's degree in leadership.
What Is Customer Service Culture?
You probably think that all businesses providing service to a customer must have a customer service culture. However, that's not entirely true. Even though essentially all companies have customers, some companies focus more on their customer than others. A customer service culture is when a company's efforts are centered around the customer. This means that the entire company, even departments that don't normally interact with customers, are focused on the customer. This also means that the company places value on each department in order to make sure they're delivering the best service to their customers all the time. There are many similar products and services in the market, so differentiating with customer service can set companies apart.
A Look at Customer Service Culture
So, what's the difference between companies with a customer service culture and companies without one? A great example of a company that has implemented customer service culture is Southwest Airlines. The company has put customers first in every aspect of their business. Offering low prices, no hassle changes and cancellations, no baggage fees, and having friendly staff shows the company's efforts at focusing their business around the customer. The company truly values their customers and hires people at all levels with that mindset. Companies might value their customers and even include them in their mission statement, but if they don't focus on customers in their day-to-day operations, they are not providing a customer service culture.
Key Aspects of Customer Service Culture
As discussed, there may be many competitors in the area offering the same product. How do you differentiate yourself so that customers remember your company and return to your business? Implementing a customer service culture can set one company apart from another and gain loyalty from customers. The key aspects of developing a customer service culture include understanding the employee experience, creating a learning environment, and maintaining an openness to feedback.
Let's look at an example. Al runs a chain of restaurants and wants to be known as a company that has a customer service culture. First, he's going to start by making sure he takes care of his employees. He's going to create perks that make his employees proud to be a part of the restaurant chain. So, in order to immerse your company into the customer service culture, you need to start with your employees. You need to hire the right employees, train existing employees, and provide service to employees first. Companies that have embraced customer service culture treat their employees very well. If your employees are happy then they'll make your customers happy.
Companies that have been successful in putting customers in their day-to-day operations have created a learning environment. They allow employees to be creative to find solutions for customers. This allows the employees to offer new ideas that will make the customers happy. For example, Al encouraged creativity with his employees and a server suggested creating a loyalty program for regular customers.
It's also important that companies are open to listening to their customers. In addition to listening to the customers they need to use the feedback given. A truly customer-centered company will use input from customers to create an experience that fits their customers. For example, Al makes sure to respond to all customer comments within one day, and he then shares all of the comments with his teams. He makes sure they use both the good and the bad comments to improve their service. This really shows his commitment to being customer service cultured.
Struggles of Customer Service Culture
While there's research and data that show that companies need to have a customer service culture, there are still companies that haven't been able to embrace this. There are a few reasons why some companies haven't been able to change their culture. First, companies that have been established for long periods of times may have a harder time changing to a customer service culture. For example, health insurance companies have dealt mostly with businesses. Now, with new laws they're dealing with the general public, which changes their type of customer. This change requires them to become more customer focused. Secondly, companies may not have enough customer feedback to develop a customer service culture that fits their customers. This lack of information can make it difficult to create a culture focused on customers when they don't know much about their customers.
Companies know that customers are very important, and that they should develop a culture that focuses on the customer in every aspect of the business. A customer service culture is when a company's efforts are focused on the customer. The key aspects of creating a customer service culture include understanding the employee experience, creating a learning environment, and being open to feedback. Some of the struggles companies face when trying to become customer centered include established companies finding change difficult and a lack of sufficient customer feedback.
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