We customer service bloggers and other advocates are always talking about the importance of a business having a “customer-focused culture.” But what exactly, does that mean?
Does it mean that, like Nordstrom’s, you have a pianist playing music next to your escalators? Or that, like that famous legend of theirs, you must take back a set of tires a customer returns to you even if you’ve never sold tires?
Let me propose one definition for a customer-focused culture:
One that places, as its first priority, the building of mutually beneficial relationships with its customers in order to accomplish its business goals.
I’m willing to bet that others can come up with different (apples vs. oranges) or even better definitions and I look forward to their links and comments.
But in the meantime, let’s take that definition as it is and see if we can’t create a checklist for someone to use when moving to a customer-focused culture.
Checklist For A Customer-Focused Culture
- Our senior leadership fully supports a customer focus (They walk the talk)
- Our mission statement reflects that customer focus
- Our business strategies place the customer first
- Our policies and procedures have been revamped to complement our customer focus
- We hire people with competencies that support a customer focus
- We reward and recognize employees who exceed customers’ expectations
- We seek feedback from our employees and our customers as to how we can improve our customer focus
- Our training teaches us how we can better serve our customers
- We have a clear written complaint process which attempts to both resolve the customer’s problem quickly and notify management in order to spot any trends
- Our complaint process empowers our employees to settle complaints themselves
- We stand behind our goods and services
- We keep our word and are ethical in all of our actions
- We greet customers when they walk into our store, whether we’re busy or not
- We stop what we’re doing to assist a customer
- We have developed a customer service model (Thank you, Meikah)
- If we don’t have it in stock, we make every effort to get it
I know you’ve got some suggestions? What are they?
Lagniappe: The American Cancer Society’s Web site now carries additional information for caregivers of cancer patients. If you know someone who is taking care of a patient, point them in that direction.