Here’s a great question that just came in today:
Q: If I want to transform my company to have a customer service/customer-centric culture, how do I get started?
–––Ready in Racine
A: Start with a statement of purpose. By this, I mean a brief statement that people at your company can get behind and bring to life through their actions. It should be short enough to be memorable and long enough to be meaningful. (Warning: Don’t go on an all-hands retreat and come back to the office with long, unreadable paragraphs, each one more Latinate and jargony than the last. Although you’ll have had a good time on the retreat, as far as that statement of purpose, it’ll be so unwieldy that it’ll end up in the CEO’s drawer to gather dust, never to be acted upon or seen again.)
Three of my favorite statements of purpose:
Safelite AutoGlass: We exist to make a difference and bring unexpected happiness to people’s everyday lives.
Mayo Clinic: The needs of the patient come first
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company:
The Ritz-Carlton is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
LightRocket via Getty Images
Once you’ve decided on your purpose and crafted a statement that expresses it, it’s time to bring it to life. This happens when you embed your purpose into:
• how you hire (you do this by beginning to select employees for customer-friendly personality traits, not only for their technical skills) (more on how to hire here)
• how you onboard new employees (more on onboarding/orientation here)
• how you treat each other internally
• and, of course, how you serve your customers.
At this point, you’re pretty close to home. Why? Because if you’ve done everything I’ve suggested so far, positive peer pressure will take over. Think about how, when you walk into an Apple store, everyone who works there is so clearly enthusiastic and so visibly dedicated to helping you achieve your desires, whether or not doing so will make the company money in the short run. This happens not only because those employees were hired effectively (which they were). It’s not only because they’ve been trained effectively (which they have been). It’s because positive peer pressure has taken hold. The people who work in an Apple store understand–from seeing this practiced all around them by their peers–that the way to be if you work here is to combine your product knowledge with a strong focus on the customer, the specific customer who needs your help at the moment.
Micah Solomon is a customer service consultant, customer experience turnaround expert, keynote speaker, trainer, and author; you can email Micah directly, visit his website, or download three free chapters of his new of his new book: Ignore Your Customers (and They’ll Go Away): The Simple Playbook for Delivering the Ultimate Customer Service Experience, recently published by HarperCollins Leadership.