Is Your Company Customer Focused?
Lots of organizations claim to provide excellent customer service but the truth is they are just grounded in an operations mindset. They are usually caught up with policies and rules which permit little or no flexibility, making it impossible for them to rise above average or satisfactory.
Customer focused companies have a very distinct understanding of customer service. When they hire and train staff, their focus is usually on customer service and they actually deliver.
Discussed below are six key areas where customer-focused organizations and operations-focused companies differ:
- Hiring: For a potential employee looking to land a good job, skills alone is not enough. They’ve got to have core values and personalities that align with the vision, mission and culture of the company as well as technical skills. Companies that employ based on skill alone are operations-focused; they only look at qualification and experience without considering the personality of the applicant and how it fits into the corporate culture.
- Training: Companies that are customer-focused recognize that delivering excellent service requires both customer service and technical skills and invest resources in training their staff on soft skills such as customer-relationship building. On the other hand, an operations-focused company places more emphasis on product knowledge and technical skills when training new recruits.
- Leadership: Leaders are responsible for developing the vision for the culture of a company and for any organization that’s customer-focused, the leaders live by that vision and lead by example. Conversely, in an operations-focused organization, the management have a “Do as I say and not as I do” approach. Employees are not inspired when they realize that the behavior of management is not consistent with the culture they purport they wish to attain.
- Empowerment: Customer-focused companies empower employees to take decisions that benefit the customer. Rather than stringent rules, their guidelines are more relaxed and they encourage employees to creatively seek ways to care for the needs of customers. Providing they don’t do anything immoral or illegal, destroy the reputation of the company or incur monetary loss for the company, they have the authority make decisions that are favorable to the customer. On the contrary, an employee in an operations-focused company must seek approval from a manager before doing anything that isn’t in line with their rules or policies.
- People are prioritized: A company that is customer-focused understands how valuable its employees are and always puts them first, thereby creating a culture of cheerful, engaged, satisfied employees who unsurprisingly offer a better customer experience. Customers are happy as well and keep returning to do business with you. An operations-focused company is anchored in processes, systems and end result, developing a culture that doesn’t guarantee the best customer experience.
- Customer Service: Delivering excellent service is everybody’s duty. It doesn’t matter whether you are serving external or internal customers, the principle remains the same and must be embraced by all employees. In an operations-focused company, customer service is relegated to a department.
So, look inwards and truthfully determine whether your company is customer-focused or not.