Delivering great customer service through driving great culture Part 1
Wednesday August 19, 2015
Driving strong company culture is something that I write about a lot, as I'm a firm believer in the power that great culture has to impact the level of customer service across every facet of your business, for all types of business, not just for a recruitment agency.
Great customer service, however, means a myriad of different things to different businesses. Whatever it means to you, in terms of your industry, product line or service, you have the ability to significantly raise the bar on your level of service through looking inwards, and focusing time, energy and resources on getting your company culture right. Then looking outwards, at how to successfully externalize this culture to positively impact the experience your customers have with you.
In this two part article, I'll be looking firstly at how to drive great culture, and secondly at how to use this culture to raise the bar on your service offering.
So what are the 4 key steps to driving great culture?
1. Know where you're going
On any important journey, knowing where you're going is the very first step. You have to know where you're going before you can figure out how to get there. Having a BHAG, a big hairy audacious goal, that everyone in your business can get behind is key. Are you collectively working towards something that gets the people in your company out of bed in the morning? Do your team know what it is they're working towards, why its important, and what it means for them? Having a stretch goal that challenges your business on every level, a team who understands the part they play in making it a reality, and what it means to them, is a great place to start.
2. Know why you're going there
You need to have a very clear idea of why you exist, and how your customers are positively impacted by your existence, in the value that you bring. Once you know what this is, you need to create a clearly defined mission statement that communicates this internally to your team, and externally to your customers at every conceivable opportunity. Care less about the choice of words, care more about making it meaningful. Working in the recruitment industry, great customer service has been one of our industries long standing challenges. So we made it our mission statement to significantly raise the bar, one exceptional recruitment experience at a time. In everything we do, across every touch point of our business, our team know that it is in support of making this mission statement true.
3. Live your values
Having a strong set of core values defines how you expect your team to behave. They help guide you in the plethora of choices and decisions that you, and your team, make everyday. Your core values act as your compass. You know where you're heading, you know why, and now you need to know that the decisions you and your team make daily, are steering you in the right direction. Strong values communicate who you are as a company. They define your personality. They create a culture of stability where everyone understands what's expected. In our company we like to do things differently. We pride ourselves on challenging the norms, breaking the mold so to speak. We're always looking for new ways to surprise with service and surpass expectations. Inside and out. In their simplest form, our four core vales are; we're quirky and fun, we're accessible and responsive, we're recruitment renegades, we're always learning. We live by them, hire by them, and fire by them. We incorporate them into every decision we make. We talk about them. We talk about them some more. And we have them visible. Everywhere.
4. Put your people first
Now that you've got your team behind where you're going, what you're doing and why. Get them excited. Find out what motivates them, and do that. Find out what drives them, and reward them that way. Make it all about them. When you have a team who are engaged, because they feel like they're a part of something meaningful, it becomes easy to effectively incentivize and reward. Involve your people at every level, from the most junior person in the company to the most senior, get their input, generate their ideas, demonstrate to them first hand how they are taking a hand in shaping the journey. Empower your people. Become a multiplier (Liz Wiseman's Multipliers is a book I'd recommend every leader read).
If you have read this, and can comfortably say that you have all of these steps in place already, then you can feel great about yourself as an employee, manager, leader, business owner, because you are already way ahead of the curve. If there are areas of your business in here that could do with a bit of input, nurturing, tweaking, full throttle 360 overhaul, do it. Invest your time, energy and resources to getting your culture to where you need it to be.
In the second part to this blog I will be writing about taking all this hard work that you've done to get to this point and successfully externalizing it to significantly impact your level of service and the experience that your customers have with you.
If great culture is something that you're passionate about, I'd love to hear from you on your insights and experiences in creating your own uniquely successful journey.