Your company is more than just a collection of employees. It’s more than the products or services you offer. And it’s even more than the mantra or slogan printed on the wall.
It always helps to remember that the best companies find success by aligning their daily habits with their core values.
In my job, our goal is to “Keep Creatives Creating.” As a music subscription service for content creators, we’ve seen how a great customer experience can start a ripple effect.
After all, when each customer has their own faithful following — most often as social media subscribers — your customer’s overall experience has to live at the center of everything you do.
Living out those values helps keep all of us focused on what matters most: providing content that sets up our customers for success, whether they’re editing a short film, working for a nonprofit, or building a startup.
Now this all sounds nice in theory. But everyone can think of big corporations that claimed to value honesty or integrity and still managed to collapse under accusations of tax evasion…or worse.
The truth is, a strong belief, a moving code of ethics, and a dedicated customer service team won’t guarantee success for your business. Everything comes back to how we prioritize our customers’ experience. And we do that by viewing it as a daily habit, not just some idealistic promise.
Build Your Company’s Identity
Everyone is a consumer these days. And being constantly bombarded by advertising means we’re savvy too — we can smell marketing material a mile away. Successful marketing tactics and tools have never been more accessible, but they’ve also become things that make people suspicious.
Building a marketing strategy requires us to provide value in every interaction. Even if the person never becomes a customer, they still want to walk away with a positive response to whatever product or service your company provides.
Most companies talk about treating their customer’s needs like a corporate compass, something to lead them toward the promised land of more and happier customers. But you know it’s more complicated than that.
The experience you deliver becomes part of your company’s DNA, and it’s just as true for the final product you sell as it is for the support you offer after a purchase.
Social media in particular has evolved into a customer service platform. It’s as much a place for networking or advertising as it is for interacting, and more and more people expect the brands they love to maintain a friendly and valuable persona there.
It’s easy to think of social media as a cesspool for negativity, but it’s still a resource your customers use every day. You can’t afford not to be there with them, observing their impressions and quickly responding to questions and concerns.
And in a perfect world, that knowledge can influence what products you create and which people you hire. Catering your business to customer needs or expectations will align your interests with theirs and help turn your paying customers into avid supporters.
Make A Better Impression
Think back to a time when you received outstanding service. Was it a receptionist somewhere? The wait staff at a chain restaurant? A mechanic at your local car shop? Maybe even a TSA worker in a major airport?
No matter which industry you work in, your company’s chances at longterm success comes down to one variable: delivering a great customer experience every single time. (Search for “best customer service stories” and read a few — you can’t help but feel inspired, and maybe get a bit teary-eyed.)
When you provide quality service to someone, it builds trust between that person and you. More specifically, it puts a face and a name to your company, and that trust carries over too.
These interactions instill confidence and encourage more interaction in the future. If something goes wrong, you might get a call or an email for help rather than a cancellation of service or an angry Tweet.
For us, that could range between a question about the finer legal points of royalty-free music to something as simple as what happens when a customer cancels. It might sound cliché, but you need to be ready for anything.
After all, the customer already knows you’re quick to react. Why not give you the opportunity to help them solve their problem?
Once you train — or hire — a strong support team, it’s time to set a standard that everyone can work toward. Do that by defining a set of core values for the entire company, then setting them as your goals every day.
Leverage Any (And All) Feedback
It’s always nice when you hear back from a company you support. Whether that’s a “thank you” email (Or, better yet, a hand-written note.) or a reply on Twitter, affirmation goes a long way to showing the human faces behind your company’s logo.
But what goes even further is when and how you deal with less-than-great feedback.
New York Times bestselling author Jay Baer wrote “Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers” to help people master this challenging technique.
Baer uses an enormous collection of research, case studies, and surveys to separate complainers into two distinct groups. Then he spells out his advice for helping us — as individuals and companies — deal with negativity and improve future customer interactions.
At Soundstripe, we live by 10 core values, and “Provide all customers with genuine and whimsical care” is at the top of that list. Our Customer Care team is committed to treat every request, complaint, or need like it’s their only priority for the day.
That kind of interaction resonates with customers — even unhappy ones.
Every other piece of the business will grow and improve because of that feedback. And once you make customer care a company-wide priority, you can start growing from the feedback you receive.
After all, who better to ask than the people already using your products or services?
Whether that’s a new rewards program, a policy adjustment, or a new product completely, the best way to grow is to become the company your target audience is looking for.