“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou
You don’t have to be a zen-buddhist or a humanitarian to create a company that is focused on making its customers happy. Your employees don’t need to be saints either. What you do need to focus on is building a company culture that places a high value on the customer and the importance of a good experience.
Any small business owner worth their weight knows their customers are their greatest asset. But maybe the approach should place more importance of happy employees. Happy employees are more likely to perform well for your business and care about its customers. Need a stat? Allowing your employee engagement to decline will result in 20 percent less revenue growth than your competitors with motivated employees.
A customer-centric culture is within your grasp. Here are five steps you can take to make sure your employees are all about that customer.
Develop Core Values
How do you want you customers to feel? What do you want them to say about your company? Why do you want them to return time and time again? Answer questions like these to figure out how you want your customers to be treated and the importance of that in your business.
Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah have a very specific plan for attracting more customers and it starts with their passionate employees. Their company’s culture is outlined in HubSpot’s Culture Code. They state that “a great culture provides the context for people to deliver their best work.” In this culture code, they state the core values they aspire to in order to be the best company for their customers.
Reinforce Those Values Constantly
If you want something to stick, you have to do the work to make it stick. There is no way employees are going to think about the core values of a company if they aren’t reminded but once a year.
Create weekly meetings where you cover one of the core values and then highlight an employee who has been living up to that value. You could even take a cue from the Ritz-Carlton: all of their employees carry laminated cards with the company credo and a list of their core values.
Just as important in small businesses as it is in larger companies: management and executives need to walk the walk. Employees see everything management does and their attitude is an indicator for how to behave. In simple terms: everyone needs to get behind the values and be reminded of them as often as possible.
Make Your Core Values the Heart of Your Training
Get your new employees jazzed. Make them drink the Kool-aid. If they are going to be representing your business and handling your customers, they need to know exactly how they should be doing so.
Kick-off your training with the company’s core values and take the time to explain why each value matters. Allow new employees to ask questions. Get them excited about being there for your customers.
Accept Nothing Less
The core values of your business will help you to create a company that is all about the customer, but not everyone will be on board all of the time. Some hard decisions will have to be made in order to strive for those values.
Do what you have to in order to keep your values and your employees consistent. Hire people who believe in those values. Train and reinforce those values. Fire those who cannot give their all to your values.
Motivate Your Team
When a business works on being customer-centric, they should recognize achievements of staff success. Recognize a staff member at your weekly meetings for excelling at customer service. The recognition alone makes the employee feel they are actually a part of a team and will only motivate others to want the same.
Building a customer-centric company culture is one sure-fire way to help with customer retention, but it isn’t something you can just set and forget. Daily reminders of your core values will help you and your staff remember who you should value most and will motivate you to take every possible measure to make those customers happy.