A healthy company culture that focuses on providing excellent customer service, regardless of their products and services, will have a much easier time teaching, coaching and reinforcing employees on the significance of providing excellent service.
Companies that struggle with finding their internal culture, or are unsure of what it should be, will very often place less value on their customer service departments. The cultural focus may be on keeping the company finances under control, or generating the most amount of revenue each month.
Depending on the business, senior management or ownership will set the tone for the culture, and ultimately, how well customers are treated by the employees when there are issues. Even seemingly minor items such as the vocabulary that is used with customers and employees, how the phone is answered - no matter who is calling, and how people are greeted in-person, will go a long way toward identifying the prevailing culture that is accepted and perpetuated.
Think of those companies that you believe have great customer service. Maybe it’s a local business in your community, or a national retail chain. Some common examples you may recognize are Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom’s Department Stores, or Disney World Resorts. In each of these cases, their employees are known for providing exceptional customer service. And if you’ve flown on Southwest, or shopped at Nordstrom’s, or visited Disney World, you know first-hand the level of service the employees provide.
The company cultures of these companies are great models of talented and well-trained employees all focused on a common goal – exceptional customer experiences. From senior management to the high school or college graduate working full-time with little or no experience, customer service is the driving force for each of the company’s successes. Internal employees are treated as well as external customers, thus reinforcing the importance of treating customers with the highest levels of respect.
These healthy company cultures encourage career growth, cross-training and provide employees with a high level of decision-making authority with customers. You can find the same types of businesses in your local communities as well. It may be a primary reason you shop at a local retail store or eat at your favorite restaurant. Healthy, vibrant, fun and quality-oriented companies are easy to spot, and generally attract the same types of customers.
The challenge for many companies is not to allow their culture to become stagnant and the employees complacent. Complacency breeds mediocrity which ultimately will have a negative impact on the caliber of service provided to customers.