Creating a customer-focused culture requires strategy and constant review. Each year you should review your goal setting and organizing efforts. Take the time to apply these same disciplines to your customer focus. I suggest going as far as renovation and retrofitting.
I encourage you to look at two areas - processes and people - to strengthen your customer focus.
Organizations' processes and systems can get complicated. Too often businesses have an internal focus that can create hassles for the customer. Customers want ease, simplicity, and responsiveness. No matter how the customer contacts your business, hassle free is their desire. Look at your website, social media, call center, phone handling, and in person contact. Where are the interaction points that can cause glitches, delays, and frustration? Evaluate how hard it is for the customer to reach you and get a timely response. Where might they "get lost," confused, and irritated?
Many of you have done the overhaul on your systems and processes - it is time to do it again. Lots of stuff keeps getting in the way.
The second area to renovate is your people. You have team members who are delivering status quo. To have a customer-focused culture, your team has to be at its best. Look at your current team, decide who needs to be "retrofitted."
It is time to coach and retrain. To get change, deliver feedback, decide upon a plan of improvement, state your expectations and set a timeline. If the team member is still not receptive to change, then take a hard look at their value.
Check your new employee orientation process. Retool it so it matches up with your customer-focused culture. Dedicate enough time for orientation. Have key people be a part of the training so the new team member feels valued and important.
Name a leader who is in charge of the customer-focused culture. This person keeps important customer issues front and center. Their position must cut across all departments so the processes can be seamless. This leadership position demonstrates your long-term commitment to the customer.
Resolve to make your organization one that works well for your customer. A customer-focused culture requires a regular "check up," a champion, and strategy. Renovation and retrofitting are not easy or cheap but required if you want to be known as "one of the best."
Lisa Ford is a speaker with over 20 years of experience presenting to businesses, associations and government. She speaks throughout the United States and internationally on topics of customer service, leadership, team issues and change. Her recent book is Exceptional Customer Service - Exceed Customer Expectations to Build Loyalty and Boost Profits.
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