Your customer service reps can’t be the only ones focused on exceeding the expectations of your customers – it needs to be a company-wide effort. Creating a customer service culture at your company will get everyone on the same page regarding your efforts to consistently delight customers.
To learn more about creating a customer service culture that spans across departments, we spoke with industry expert Shep Hyken about his thoughts on the topic.
Read an excerpt from the interview below or click here to download the full interview.
InsightSquared: How does having excellent customer service benefit the entire company?
Shep Hyken: Customers that have a good experience want to come back and do business with you again. The key is that the next time they come back, the time after that, and the time after that, it’s a repeated experience. Eventually they don’t react to the experience, they can predict what the experience is going to be. When a customer is able to predict that their experience is going to be positive every time they do business with you, you’re on the way to creating a loyal customer – not just a satisfied customer.
On the flip side, many companies that are very customer-focused tend to be internally-focused as well, meaning, they manage the internal customer experience – or the employee experience – which makes for an engaged workforce, a more fulfilled workforce, and overall, a better company to work for.
What can customer service teams do to convince their executives to adopt a customer service culture across the entire business?
First of all, it shouldn’t be the customer service team that’s going to leadership and asking for the adoption of a customer service culture. Instead, it should be the leadership going out to everybody and saying, “This is what we want to do.”
So if the company is broke and the customer service team is saying, “Hey, we need to fix this,” the easiest way to do that is to say, “Hey, you sit here next to me and listen to how some of these calls are going. Then we’ll have a meeting to debrief and figure out what we can do to improve.”
Have you ever seen that in action, where leadership spends time on the frontlines?
When I see this in place, I see leaders say, “I want to be on the frontline. I want to get in the trenches. I want to hear what our customers are saying about us. So let me shadow a call center rep. Let me get in the truck and drive around with a salesperson. Let me go out and make some visits with our team so that I can hear firsthand.” They’re out there in the field working with people, learning firsthand what the customers are saying and doing and how they react to the product or service that they’re selling.
Do you think there’s such thing as over-investing in customer service?
I think the smart answer is to say that you can never invest too much in customer service. But anybody that’s looking at the total financial picture will say, “There is an important budget item and that is all about customer service, which means training people properly.” It’s hard to tell if you’ve spent too much, but you can definitely know if you’ve spent too little.
What are some of the telltale signs that companies aren’t investing enough in their customer service?
The simplest one is if someone says, “Hey, I had a bad experience.” The next would be if someone says, “I had an inconsistent experience,” meaning, it was great today and then it was really bad the next time or it wasn’t as good.
How can other departments at a company – like marketing and sales – help out the customer service team?
They all need to be working together. Customer service isn’t a department – it’s a philosophy. Everybody, at some point, somehow impacts the customer.
Customer service isn’t a department – it’s a philosophy.
Some companies have a chief customer officer or chief experience officer. These people, in these positions, are tasked with not only analyzing data and looking for better ways to improve service, but also creating a culture that’s focused on the customer.
At the end of the day, all departments need to be working together, not as separate, siloed departments. They’re all focused on one thing: creating a great experience for customers that’s going to make them come back and do business with you again. When that happens, the company prospers, there’s job security, there’s longevity, and there’s success – that’s what it’s all about.
Want more insights from Shep about creating a customer service culture? Download our full interview here: The Keys to Customer Service Excellence with Shep Hyken.