By: Jeff Seeley
Corporate culture is one of the more critical aspects of brand management, innovation and long-term employee retention strategies, especially considering the highly competitive markets that have surfaced in the wake of the Great Recession. Business leaders need to understand the value of customer service-oriented cultures to truly succeed despite turbulent conditions.
Customer service cultures begin and end with employees, even those who do not often manage client communications. Decision-makers can take a variety of approaches to stimulate and sustain these capabilities and expertise among employees.
Get them involved
The first step toward strong customer satisfaction performances is high employee engagement and morale. A happier employee will provide exceptional customer service, whereas a disengaged staff member will be less likely to perform optimally when communicating with clientele.
Consider these recommendations when working to establish a customer service-oriented culture:
- Training: Managers should always work to provide employees with relevant, timely and engaging lessons related to soft skills. Communication and critical-thinking training can quickly bolster staff members' ability to provide exceptional customer service.
- Teamwork: Whether a client is upset, frustrated or confused, the most successful service performances are always the result of teamwork among staff members both inside and outside of customer service departments. As such, employers need to establish venues and activities that will bring the various arms of the business together.
- Communication: Poor communication capabilities on the technology side will often lead to worse customer service. Businesses should consider using advanced solutions, including internal messaging and calling services, to keep all employees on the same page. An easy process of internal communications will often strengthen the corporate culture.
- Measurement: Businesses will not be able to understand which investments are leading to profits and which need to be cut without the proper measurement systems in place. Customer relationship management tools can help business leaders more accurately evaluate performances among employees.
- Collaboration: The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts when it comes to customer service. Employees should be given opportunities to discuss potential strategies, as well as which types of processes are working well in the customer service department, to stimulate long-term performance improvements.
- Support: Leaders need to be at the center of the customer service culture, providing employees with any and all support they need to succeed.
Once corporate cultures reach the desired performances, managers and executives should work to keep the customer service spirit alive through long-term training and development programs.