Your company’s success relies upon your customers. Without them, you wouldn’t enjoy earnings or sales—or simply, a business—whatsoever. Therefore, in an effort to achieve success, it is critical to make sure they are a priority. And that calls for going beyond traditional customer service.
The best course of action for realizing exceptional customer satisfaction levels (along with your business objectives) is to develop a customer-focused culture.
What is a Customer-focused Culture?
The principle itself is rather painless. Developing a customer-focused culture simply suggests making customer experience, or CX, a primary element of your company’s goals and values.
As Kelly Uhlrich, Vice President and General Manager of CX company Humach explains, “the proper focus and investment of time and budget requires a more strategic approach. It’s not a marketing problem or a technology initiative.”
So, to take an absolutely customer-focused strategy, you need to do more than hire a talented customer support department. Instead, you will need to incorporate customer care into your business culture in its entirety. And you need to make it evident.
Some executives make the misstep of believing that their dedication to the customer’s experience is a sort of unspoken merit. And while it might be, it’s imperative that you take the time to put it into words.
Clearly explaining your values can help reestablish your team’s focus and make each employee more convinced in what your business represents.
How a Customer Focus Can Help Your Business Achieve Success
A customer-focused strategy can do more for your business than give a boost to your customer satisfaction (CSAT) levels.
It’s Essential for Customer Retention
Customer retention is crucial for building recurring revenue. It’s also much more cost-effective than solely focusing on acquisition, as it’s six to seven times more expensive to bring in a new client than it is to retain a current one.
And offering excellent service is absolutely essential for establishing high retention rates. As a matter of fact, 24% of respondents in a MyCustomer survey noted they’d switch to a different brand after a single negative experience.
However, when you develop a customer-focused culture, you can be assured that regardless of which employee a customer interacts with, they’ll be seen as a priority.
Customer-centric Businesses are More Profitable
Considering the impact service can have on retention, it should come as no surprise that businesses that make their clients a priority are usually more profitable. In fact, analysis from Deloitte and Touche identified that companies with a customer-centric focus are 60% more prosperous.
This directly links to the fact that the more satisfied a customer is with a brand, the more they are inclined to purchase. In one study, Xerox learned that customers who rated them a 6/6 were six times more prone to buy more merchandise than those who rated the brand with a 5.
In this instance, a single extra point on their rating scale led to a clear difference in purchasing habits—showing that even a little extra effort could be all you will need to boost your revenue.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that a customer focus can help with the lead nurturing process.
When you make the effort to answer potential customers’ questions, and provide them with the details necessary to make informed purchasing decisions, you improve the odds that they’ll convert.
How to Build a Customer-focused Culture
Focusing on your customers may sound like a relatively clear-cut process. But if you’re unclear where to begin, the following four actions will give you a clear path towards establishing the style of work culture you are looking for.
1. Gather Feedback Frequently
The initial task in growing a customer-focused culture is listening to what your customers have to say. There are several methods to do this. For customer-facing employees, the most simplistic approach is simply to ask for feedback during typical interactions. And this doesn’t need to involve a set of scripted topics.
Simply asking clients whether they’re happy with your company, products, and services is a simple way to ascertain overall sentiment. It can also be an effective way to collect suggestions and constructive feedback. Really encourage your customer support team to keep a record of these suggestions and make it a priority to evaluate them regularly.
You can also take things a step farther (and reach out to users that don’t get in touch with you for help) by sending user surveys.
Again, these don’t need to be convoluted. Software tools like Typeform make it convenient to create surveys that can offer you beneficial insight about your clients.
From there, you can use CSAT surveys to determine how satisfied your customers are with certain interactions and other aspects of your business. If you’re in the early stages of developing a customer-focused strategy, this might sound like a lot.
But as your team becomes more comfortable seeking and reviewing customer comments, it will become a regular—and indispensable—part of your procedures.
2. Make Customer Service Metrics an Integral Part of Your Company Objectives
You likely already have company-wide ambitions that all of your employees understand and work toward attaining. For many businesses, these revolve around revenue and growth. But customer service-oriented metrics also need to be a component of your core goals.
Probably the most widely used of these is Net Promoter Score or NPS. This metric is an index ranging from -100 to 100 and denotes the overall reaction toward your company. And while it shouldn’t be the sole metric you use to gauge customer satisfaction, its simplicity makes it suited to a company-wide objective.
Aiming to reach a specific score by the end of the year, for starters, can give your team a tangible reason to continuously put the customer first.
3. Incorporate it into Your Company Culture
When many people think of “customer care,” they typically think of a company’s customer support personnel. But to establish a customer-focused culture, it can’t just be a priority for customer-facing employees.
Alternatively, you need to incorporate this emphasis into your company’s core values. For instance, take a look at Southwest’s mission statement.
The entire thing is about customer service.
And given that Southwest has become the highest-ranking North American airline with respect to customer satisfaction, this strategy is definitely working for the brand.
4. Make Each and Every Employee a Customer Champion
One of the most effective ways to create a truly customer-centric culture is to motivate every employee, regardless of their team or job role, to be a customer champion.
If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, a customer champion is someone who “represents customers and their experience in discussions within the company. They’re focused on putting the customer’s needs first and is vested in improving the customer experience at every phase.”
For many businesses and organizations, encouraging non-customer-facing employees to concentrate on customers would signify a significant shift, but it’s a shift that can provide superb results. For example, this was the thought behind PayPal’s “Be the Customer” action.
Through the course of 8 months, the company took many steps to revitalize their team’s customer focus. This involved letting non-customer-service staff listen to customer calls to give them more understanding on this side of the organization, in addition to encouraging employees in all departments to evaluate new PayPal products themselves.
And it worked.
As a result of this endeavor, PayPal’s revenue grew 19% from Q1 to Q2, and their Net Promoter Score hit a new high.
Therefore, if you’re on the fence about transforming your company’s work culture, a comparable approach could very well present you with a chance to test the impact of a heightened customer focus—and you just might be amazed at the results.