What does it mean to be customer focused or customer centric? By definition, it is the orientation of a company towards serving its clients’ needs. Being customer focused is not just about great customer service but offering a great experience for your customers from beginning to end. Putting your customer’s satisfaction first is a strong contributor to a business’s success.
Creating the Culture from Within
Amazon and Southwest Airlines are great examples of big name companies who lead in customer focused culture. Amazon requires every manager, including CEO Jeff Bezos, to spend two days biennially at the customer service desk. This ensures that all their employees, including management and highest executives of Amazon, understand the needs of their customers. This practice translates well to small business owners, as it allows a company to have a clear understanding of their customers wants and needs as they grow and scale. It will also encourage your management and employees to make decisions based on their consumers perspective.
Southwest’s mission Statement reads, The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. Southwest has created a vast loyal customer base. One way they have achieved this goal is by considering the happiness of their employees. This is evident based on a quote from the company’s website by Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines CEO – “Our people are our single greatest strength and most enduring long-term competitive advantage.”
Southwest employees have a lower turnover rate in comparison to other airlines, despite having a less competitive salary. Providing a stable work environment encourages personal growth, creativity and innovation. It also encourages employees to focus on customer satisfaction. Happy Employees = Happy Customers.
Communication with Customers
In the hustle and bustle of numbers, it can be easy to forget how important each customer interaction is. Getting the job done is just as important as how it gets done. While reference information is important, it’s even more valuable to be conversational when interacting with customers. We challenge you to see how a person’s attitude changes when you show interest in them. This can be done simply by referring to your customer by their first name and utilizing common pleasantries and considerate questions such as, “How are you today Felicia?” and “Good morning Mr. Taylor,” It’s also constructive for employees to introduce themselves, giving the customers a more comfortable customer service experience by creating rapport.
It’s always comforting for a customer to know they have several options to reach you. Whether it’s messaging through your business Facebook Page, customer service email or by phone. A quick response helps the customer know you care about their needs and experience with your company. In a survey conducted by Professor James B Oldroyd at MIT, sales percentages drop dramatically when customers do not receive responses within an hour of their inquiry.
Customers also feel reassured when they know the status of their service or purchase. Confirmation emails or phone calls when orders are submitted for processing and subsequently shipped keep customers informed. Customize these emails to include first names and contact information to give automated emails a more personal feel. Communicating with your customers post-sale is another means to remain customer focused. What did they think of your product or service? How could your company improve the customer’s experience? This feedback will help better your company and customer service strategy as a whole.
As DCA Virtual Business Support has grown, we have had an opportunity to experience the cultural shift that many companies experience over time. This drives how we interact with our customers as well as how we implement the services we offer. If you have found a habit that is helpful to building a customer centric culture, we’d like to get your input! Please leave your feedback below.