Create a Customer-Focused Culture With These 5 Tips
Saying “the customer is always right” is easy enough, but it takes more than just words to ensure your customers keep coming back to your business.
Building a customer-focused culture takes time and a lot of effort, but the rewards for your business are enormous. Improved customer retention, word of mouth, and improved brand recognition are just a few of the ways creating a customer-focused culture will help you.
In a 2019 survey, Salesforce found that 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. With the convenience of online shopping and the endless options available, your business needs to stand out.
The most successful customer experience (CX) happens when companies think beyond individual experiences and build customer consideration into their company processes, policies, and tech tools. We’ll discuss the best ways of creating a customer-focused culture at your business.
Here are the five tips we’ll cover:
1. Listen for what your customers like with a VoC program
The harder you work to hear your customers, the more value you’ll return to them. Achieve this by implementing a voice-of-the-customer (VoC) program, which brings in several sources of customer feedback on an ongoing basis to continuously monitor what customers like and dislike about your service.
A VoC program allows you to focus on the more subjective aspects of how your customers feel about your business. Instead of simply relying on hard data, you’ll also be able to analyze sentiment. Here are things to do to get the data you need:
Collect customer complaints (either in person or through online reviews)
Use customer surveys
Ask for employee feedback
Look through social media engagement
Conducting customer interviews
When you reach out to your customers—and how frequently—is as important as what you ask. It’ll vary from business to business, but it’s important to keep a regular cadence to make sure nothing major has changed. Good survey software can help you plan and create compelling customer engagement surveys. Whatever you use to collect customer data, you’ll want to start analyzing it once every couple of weeks.
After the first few months go by, you’ll have a better picture about what’s most important and can readjust frequency from there. You may find that some things are most valuable monthly while others are better quarterly or yearly.
2. Make your communication more effective by showing you’re listening
By listening to your customers, you’ll find out where they are. However, “where they are” can mean a lot of different things aside from geographic or demographic information.
Effective customer listening helps you find the channels through which your customers are engaging with your brand. For instance, if your customers are primarily active on Twitter, your social media marketing resources should reflect this fact.
But just finding them is not enough—it’s important to level with your customers by showing them that your listening has paid off. There are a few ways to make this known to your customers:
Eliminate industry jargon from your website
Make sure customer support agents aren’t using terms and acronyms that only other employees can understand
Give customers clear examples of your product or service in concrete language
This is a wide-ranging issue, so take a look at all your communication touch points with the customers, from your site to your social media to your support teams. Using your customer data, find out whether you’re meeting your customers where they’re at and ensure you’re speaking their language when your paths cross.
3. Place empathy at the core of your business to grow customer loyalty
Gartner expects that through 2020, your growth will depend as much on customer process design as it does on marketing activity (full article available to Gartner clients). Essentially, businesses who build and design their customer service around empathy and understanding will experience greater business growth.
And it makes sense: customers will see your understanding as empathy, and will reciprocate the empathy with trust. Trust in your business results in greater customer loyalty and retention.
One of the best places to start if you want to empathize with customers is by building a customer journey map. Creating a journey map will offer you perspective into the pain points faced by your customers and can help you create strategies to improve the overall CX by addressing these pain points directly.
With your journey map in place, take a step back and consider your company processes and policies as a whole:
Are you and your customer service team empathetic toward frustrated customers?
Are you conscious of customer privacy when making your policies?
Are your policies made to encourage helpfulness, fairness, and honesty when dealing with customers?
Imagine whether your customers would feel respected by the different policies and processes you have in place. If you build a foundation of empathy into company policy, you’ll notice that basic interactions with customers will become more fruitful.
4. Improve workplace collaboration between staff to keep CX top-of-mind
If you want to have a customer-focused culture, your staff needs to have a sense of how their role and behaviors affect CX. The following checklist will keep employees from getting too caught up in the day-to-day demands of their jobs and ensure the shared goal of serving customers stays top-of-mind across the board.
5. Improve employee experience to improve customer experience
Changing policies, connecting through digital touch points, and improving products are all tangible things that can be optimized for better CX, but a customer-focused culture comes down to one thing: the relationships between your employees and your customers.
A 2019 Gartner 2019 Employee Experience-Customer Experience Survey found that an overwhelming majority of employees thought that there is a strong relationship between employees’ daily experiences and the quality of CX (full research available to Gartner clients).
An unsatisfied employee will feel less incentivized to deliver a great experience to a customer, leaving the customer unsatisfied. Encourage employees to treat your customers as they’d want to be treated—and make sure you’re treating your employees that way first.
How technology can aid culture change
Although culture change is a human endeavor, software can help the process along by automating reminders, listening, or encouragement.
Employee collaboration software can ease cross-team collaboration.
If you’re starting from square one, more general customer service software might be worth looking into.
If you’ve already started looking for software, we’ll help you find the right one for your needs and budget in 15 min or less, for free. Schedule a call or click here to chat with a software advisor now.
We’ve written a lot about talent management before, so if you’re curious about what steps you can take in order to create an environment that your employees can thrive and contribute positively to your business, we’ve collected some resources for you.