Customer-centric service takes collaboration

Six steps to achieving a positive customer sales experience from beginning to end

A customer-centric culture is not just about offering good service. It’s a way of doing business that provides a positive customer experience before, during and after the sale in order to drive repeat business, customer loyalty and profits.

Elements of customer centricity include:

  • Employees understand what customers want. They capture customer insights and share this across the organization.
  • Employees focus on building relationships and presenting themselves in ways designed to maximize the customer’s experience.
  • Leaders collaborate with employees, customers, and suppliers in order to analyze, plan and implement a business strategy that focuses on creating and keeping profitable and loyal customer.

Here are six steps to consider:

  1. Start at the end. First define what the perfect customer service experience looks like for your customer. Collaborate with customers to find out what they value most, ask suppliers what it’s like working with you. From there, determine what will deliver that exceptional experience.
  2. Collaborate with employees to create a customer-focus mantra. Think of the Ritz-Carlton’s “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen,” or Mayo Clinic’s “The needs of the patient come first.”
  3. Co-create core values. Your core values should cover how customers, employees, and vendors should be treated at all times
  4. Find out what already works – and doesn’t. Collaborate with employees to explore examples of current successes — and discuss how to build on those. Ask about any rules that are getting in the way of providing great service.
  5. Emphasize the “soft side” of customer service. Show employees how their attitude, choice of words, and body language impacts the customer. Train them in Leadership Presence skills.
  6. Let employees know what’s in it for them. Celebrate success, acknowledge “small wins,” share reinforcing customer stories (Southwest and Nordstrom both do a great job of this), reward collaboration – especially the sharing of tips and insights – and align raises, promotions and bonuses to reinforce your goals.

Carol Kinsey Goman, PhD, is an executive coach, consultant, and international keynote speaker at corporate, government, and association events. She is also the author of The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead.


The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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