Good or bad customer experience is largely dependent on one thing, and that is what happens inside an organization.
As business entities, we tend to keep customers at the heart of all the operations. But it is when customers and employees both are placed together at the forefront, a business can truly thrive.
There is a strong and undeniable link between the company culture and customer service. Good company culture is not limited to endorsing the Instagram-worthy interior of your modern workplace. It is much more than that. Company culture is an amalgamation of a lot of factors, such as the company core values, leadership style, flow of communication and so on.
And every aspect of your company culture has some role to play in customer handling journey. Here are four major areas of company culture and how working in these areas can transform the customer experience.
1. The tone of your company culture
When something is wrong in an organization’s customer service, it almost always reflects a problem in its organizational culture. To tackle this you must set the tone of your culture right from the very start. Your customer-centric approach cannot simply reflect on the outside if you don’t nurture it in the inside.
You can enjoy a service culture only when your employees are genuinely concerned about offering great customer service. They need to implement the best ways to provide it and most importantly they should understand why and how they do it.
68% of customers say the service representative is key to a positive service experience.
Hire for the right attitude and train the skill. When you’re trying to build and sustain a service culture, your employees must fit the profile. You must be clear about your core values from the very start and choose wisely. Next is training. The training should be designed and focused around a customer-first approach that you wish for your employees to take. Create a learning environment for employees where they are not afraid to experiment and make mistakes to improve customer satisfaction.
2. Employer branding and Consumer branding
Consumer branding or how your target audience perceives your brand is a matter of great importance for any business. Businesses put a huge amount of money, time and effort into formulating strategies to build to a loyal consumer brand. But what is often overlooked is the correlation between employee branding and consumer branding. “You can’t sell it outside if you can’t sell it inside.” ~Stan Slap
Employee branding, in a nutshell, is the branding of the company as an employer. It’s about projecting and differentiating the image of your company as desirable to top job seekers. It happens when there is organic, positive word-of-mouth promotion of what happens inside the company by the employees themselves.
When your employee branding complements the consumer brand, there can be nothing like it. It presents a consistent image of the brand. It also upholds that the company is actually practicing what it preaches.
It is your employees who enact the features of the brand and whose actions define the customer experience. When your employees reinforce the promises made by the brand, the trust of your customers on the brand increases by many folds.
3. Strong Internal Communication
An elementary unit of sound company culture is good internal communication.
While handling customers, it is not uncommon for your employees to face new and unique challenges every day. Understanding your customers, responding to their feedback and finding ways to boost customer satisfaction are keys to making your business sustainable. Here comes the role of internal communication. When internal communication is strong, it enables team members who are directly working with customers to share important information and ideas for improvement.
Companies that are highly effective communicators had 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared with firms that are the least effective communicators.
It helps in addressing the ongoing challenges, allowing different teams to work together in solving problems. It bridges the gap between different collaborators and increases engagement between company stakeholders.
4. Employee Empowerment
An empowering organizational culture is one where employees have the opportunity, knowledge, and skill to personally succeed along with the success of the company they are part of. This has been one of the prime aspects of culture-building. In today’s world where the gig economy is at the rise and job-hopping a common phenomenon, one of the surefire ways to retain top talents is to empower them. Employees necessarily seek a certain degree of freedom and autonomy at work and managers must facilitate that.
One of the major advantages of empowering employees can be seen in the quality of customer service.
The Gallop Organization notes that organizations that empower employees experience 50% higher customer loyalty (Wagner & Harter 2006)
Empowered employees take personal pride in their work. They tend to take responsibility for doing a good job. As a result, organizations reap the benefits of empowered employees by delivering high-quality products and services. For example, while dealing with an unsatisfied customer if your employees have the tools and authority to make a decision, they can fix the issue there and then.
5. Employee Engagement
Coming to the final and probably most talked about areas in people management, employee engagement. In fact, all the above points are more or less building blocks of employee engagement.
When employees are engaged, they are emotionally invested in the work and the success of an organization. They are highly likely to stay longer or put more effort to get a job done. This attitude contributes immensely to customer satisfaction. On the other hand, your disengaged employees will never build a strong customer relationship.
Companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than less customer-focused companies.
Companies with engaged employees outperform the competition by 147%.
Companies are tapping into the power of their people to deliver the best customer service.
Tracking the degree of employee engagement in your workplace, looking into the drivers of engagement and implementing the best practices to improve employee engagement should be a top business priority.