- A strong customer service culture is essential when trading conditions become harder or you want to grow.
- Your internal service levels will drive your external customer experience.
- Business productivity will improve with improved staff engagement.
A strong customer service culture is critical to business success. Every company has a customer service culture of some description, but to define that culture we have to ask questions like: What is it? How do you measure it? Why is it important? And how does it relate to corporate culture?
As a starter for ten, describe your service culture in three words; “Supportive, caring and engaging”, for example; or more negatively, “ unfriendly, abrupt and poor”. Perhaps nobody would define their own service culture in those terms, but actions speak louder than words and we’ve all done business with companies that don’t seem to value our custom.
For us, customer service culture is seen as, “the way we do things around here.” It permeates all customer and staff thoughts, actions and feelings, and drives the business left, right, up and down.That’s why it’s essential to take this intangible force in hand.
As McKinsey's customer experience compendium of July 2017 puts it;
"It helps to create a new service culture that deepens customer-centric efforts in all layers of the organization. It promotes a longer-term impact and the full engagement of the staff by applying the principles of customer excellence to employees’ journeys."
When demand is high, you can get away with a poor service culture in the short term, especially if the competition is no better. But when the market tightens up and the competition intensifies, a reduced service culture could quickly finish off a once thriving business.
A weak customer service culture isn’t easily corrected, which is why you should take steps to resolve it before it becomes a problem. The good news is that a customer service culture assessment can help you to identify ways to improve your service levels.
3 benefits of a strong customer service culture
1. Improved cross-departmental communications
Ensuring your department is working well with other departments sometimes means having to go the extra mile. You’ll need to be proactive, think outside the box, be helpful and supportive and think ahead. Often it’s not what happens within a function but what happens between functions that makes all the difference. Cross-departmental communication isn’t easy in an environment with a poor customer service culture.
2. The customer service experience is much improved
The external customer experience will reflect the internal customer service culture. You’ll never deliver an exceptional customer service experience if everybody is about to hand in their notice.
3. Increased business productivity
Motivated, engaged employees are more focused. They’ll be more efficient and make better decisions. They’ll also be more organised and more able to prioritise their time appropriately. Ultimately, they’ll be able to get more done, which is good for them, the customer and their business. This will help improve UK productivity, too.
A great customer service culture starts by engaging your staff. An improved customer experience starts with a focus on seeing how well your employees staff are working together. We can help you improve your customer service culture with our business improvement programme. We use unique productivity tools to observe your frontline customer service points to identify your strengths and challenges. Find out more.