While most businesses strive to be customer-oriented, they often find it challenging to build a customer-centric culture. In this post, we’ll explore the steps you can take to grow your business around the needs and expectations of your customers. Let’s dive in!
Build customer-centricity from the ground up
Changing your business culture is an extremely difficult if not impossible task. It’s one that requires time, extensive leadership involvement, and management of resistance from employees.
You’re better off trying to build customer-centricity by making it a key value from the start of your business. An important step that you can take is to place the importance of customer-orientation in your job postings, website, onboarding material, and other internal documents.
During your interview processes, talk to candidates about how customer-centricity matters to your business. Ask them questions that gauge their own inclination to help customers.
Also, carry out intensive training to help build empathy and other customer support skills. If there’s one critical value that forms the basis of good customer support, it’s empathy. Training your staff to be more empathetic and sharing stories of empathy in practice will help you set a solid foundation from which it’s possible to grow a truly customer-centered business.
Have employees engage with customers
While your customer support staff may have frequent conversations with your customers, their knowledge and insights may not permeate through your entire business.
It’s important to find ways to get more of your other employees to interact with customers directly or at least observe them in real-life interactions.
For example, your internal accounting team may rarely have direct content with your customers and there can be a disconnect when they don’t see how their own work affects customers.
Likewise, product developers can benefit from going through customer feedback, listening to customer calls, or checking out your company’s Facebook page to see what your audience is talking about.
You need to actively find ways to get more members of your business to understand your customers. And the next point addresses a barrier that you can address to further improve how employees relate to customers.
Making more people and teams aware of how your customers think, what their pain points are, and how to help them is only possible when information flows through your business.
This means removing data silos. One of the biggest problems a business faces is not having enough data, but actually understanding what it means and how to apply it for better customer experiences.
So, what are some practical ways to remove data silos in your business? Here are a few approaches we use in our business:
- Internal educational webinars: We encourage our employees from different teams to create monthly video seminars where they share their tips and expertise with the entire organization. There’s isn’t any skill or tip too small to be helpful to their coworkers
- Encourage membership in other Slack channels: We have a marketing Slack channel that is meant to help improve our marketing efforts. There are several participants from other teams like developers who choose to be a part of the channel to learn from the group
- Leadership-driven webinars: This is like internal webinars but one created and presented by leaders with a top-level focus.
- Documentation of values and information: When you make Important insights and best practices available to everyone, you’re more likely to see improved performance. Use a cloud storage tool like Google Drive. You can create documents that provide guidelines for how to deal with customers and other important details
Practical steps like these will go a long way towards making information-sharing possible. And as a result, your entire organization will develop a unified mindset towards providing better customer experiences.
Encourage your employees to use your own products
At our business, we offer our products to our employees for free and encourage them to use it. There are a few reasons for this, one being that our team members deserve to use the products that they create and support. Another reason is that it helps them understand how our products work and to experience them for themselves.
The key to successful customer support is empathy, and getting your employees to use your product is a practical way to put them in the minds of your customers.
Use the right tools
All the best intentions won’t matter if your employees are not enabled to serve customers well with the right tools.
So, what kind of tools should you invest in to help your employees engage with customers to the best effect?
- Social media management tools including social listening and sentiment analysis features
- Survey tools so that your customers can get instantaneous feedback on how customers rate an experience
- CRM tools
- Internal communication tools like Slack so that team members can ask each other questions and information right away
- Analytics tools to help your team access data and generate reports about customer interactions, user behavior on your website and on other platforms.
Giving your employees the right tools and training them to use them correctly will make their work easier. They’ll provide better services when they have access to information and features that allow them to solve problems.
Link rewards to customer satisfaction
When you build a connection between happier customers and personal rewards for your employees, you create positive reinforcement.
This is something you may already do with your customer support staff by giving your most highly rated support personnel rewards based on their performance. However, if you can also create direct and indirect rewards for other members of your organization for higher customer satisfaction rates, then you should implement such a reward scheme.
When this isn’t possible, sharing customer success stories or celebrating positive reviews and ratings online will serve as reminders that customer orientation matters in your business.
Value your internal customers
Internal customers refer to your employees. Remember that the best customer service comes from people who feel secure and happy in their workplace. This means that you need to start by building a workplace that your employees thrive in.
Basic steps like fostering pleasant interactions, offering good compensation and other rewards, as well as actively appreciating your employees are all critical ways to make employees happy.
Your customers will also feel better when they connect with staff members with whom they are familiar. So, another strategy for building customer-centricity is to reduce churn rates in your business and to help employees feel happy about what they do.
Building a customer-centric culture from scratch is one of the hardest things you can do, especially when you’re starting late in your business.
We’ve looked at several practical ways that you can shape your workplace culture to be more customer-oriented. By applying these tips in small ways, you’ll soon be able to create consistent and high-quality work across your business and not just in customer support.