Customer culture is undoubtedly one of the best levers for providing a quality experience with its customers. Indeed, in many cases, offering a superior experience requires collaborators who will convey emotion, go beyond expectations … We all had the case of an employee of a company who left us an excellent memory of the company because he adapted to our situation, he was empathetic …
However, it is clear that many companies are mistaken about what customer culture is, and how to disseminate it, which makes many projects to disseminate Customer Culture a failure.
Despite the tools deployed, the indicators in place, a designated customer experience manager … the customer culture remains stalled …
Customer Culture is not the only way to improve Customer Experience!
The first thing is to know that customer culture is not the only solution to improve the Customer Experience.
Indeed, a good Customer Experience depends on several factors:
- Perceived product quality and services compared to expectations initials, as well as daily use. If the products are deplorable, an engaged employee will not be able to do much to improve the customer experience;
- The efficiency of Customer Service, in particular the waiting times on the various channels, the responses provided … Indeed, during moments of truth such as the call for after-sales service, the customer expects reactivity and efficiency in the processing of his request;
- The fluidity of the customer journey so that everything goes smoothly by eliminating black spots and anticipating requests. If the handling, the installation … are disastrous, the customer experience will suffer;
- Employee relations (the famous Culture Client) which allows you to have empathy, to put emotion, to spread passion …
In fact, to improve the Customer Experience, it is not compulsory to work on the Client Culture … But it is nevertheless recommended highly recommended so as not to break the Customer Experience via negative attitudes of employees.
Customer culture is not about processes, the dissemination of KPIs … but an attitude!
The definition of Customer Culture given by Daniel Ray, Customer Relationship researcher at Grenoble Ecole de Management, sheds light on another common error on Customer Culture.
Here is its definition: ” Customer Culture is a set of attitudes and behaviors of the employee reflecting a real concern to ensure customer satisfaction in a sustainable way“.
The analysis that we have to make of it is that Customer Culture is NOT ABOVE procedures to be applied by force to employees, but on the contrary a question of attitude.
It’s like the “SBAM” (Smile, Hello, See you soon and Thank you) imposed in stores: the cashier can very well tell you a ” Hello To respect the SBAM, but the tone of this hello will be so mechanical and absent of emotion that it will on the contrary convey a feeling of weariness and robotization …
This is where the major error of companies in the dissemination of customer culture lies: wanting to “force” the nature of employees at all costs with procedures, processes … or piloting by disseminating satisfaction indicators … when it is necessary to act at the root: to change people’s mentalities and attitudes.
However, it can be very complex in many companies to move from a “turnover” mentality to a “customer” mentality.
We arrive at a double discourse:
- On the one hand, we talk about customer satisfaction, customer orientation, customer culture …;
- But what counts above all is to make turnover, manage a number of calls, manage files …
Faced with this schizophrenia, managers and employees can be confused, and in the end come back to what they think is best (and what their priority demands): make turnover above all, so as not to be reprimanded by management, even if it means putting the customers on the back.
This is why most Culture Client programs are failures: we grate the stages by implementing actions on the processes, on communication… while the fundamentals are not there.
It is necessary to focus both on the dissemination of the Customer Culture in the company, but also (and above all) to work on the attitudes & values of the employees.
And only then will we set up the framework with the processes, the tools …
How to influence the values of employees?
Values are intimately linked to individuals and cannot be changed.
Only an exceptional personal event can leave a sufficient mark on a person (eg an accident, a family problem, etc.) to make them radically change their values.
What the company can do is:
- Highlight and promote positive behaviors related to the Customer Experience, and value people who have a customer culture-oriented profile and actions;
- Help and support people with a less client-oriented profile (eg evolve the natural reflexes of the procedural, non-engaged … towards a customer orientation).
All of this involves communication, training, animation … in order to understand the challenges of the Customer Experience, what is expected of them (and what we no longer want).
This also involves recruiting new employees with an empathetic and customer-oriented profile, in order to rebalance the profiles of the company.
The 5 steps for the company to spread a customer culture
Once the work on individual values is underway, it is possible to work on the “business” part of the Customer Culture component.
Here are the 5 main steps to promote the dissemination of customer culture are:
Step 1: Management buy-in
It is essential that senior management have a desire to make customer experience a strategic axis, and therefore customer culture, a priority.
Management must communicate on the strategic importance of Customer Experience, and the impact of employees in achieving a quality Customer Experience.
This is materialized by the following actions
- Communicate on the place of Customer Culture in the Customer Experience, and its key role;
- Empower employees to promote change in values;
- Review the organization (e.g. appoint an Experience Manager with cross-functional responsibility) …
Step 2: Take a picture of customer culture in the company
The goal is to see where the customer orientation of the company is, via field surveys, observations of the concrete reality of the customer journey …
To rationally measure customer orientation, and therefore know where we are starting from and the efforts that will need to be made, it is possible to launch a study on the C.O.S. (Customer Orientation Score).
The COS which identifies the customer orientation by balancing the employee / corporate orientation.
We then obtain the customer orientation of the company:
Then the customer orientation of the organization:
To have a more global vision of the company in its sector of activity, it is interesting to go and play mystery customers among competitors.
Step 3: Listen to employees and help them better satisfy the client
This step consists of listening to employees and giving them the resources and the environment to better satisfy the client.
This requires more autonomy (in order to be able to make commercial gestures, deviate from procedures, etc.) and tools to gain efficiency.
There is also an effort to be made on employee training (eg: Customer Culture awareness workshops …) and communication (eg examples of good practice in the newsletter).
Step 4: Bring the voice of the customer to employees
It is essential to humanize and give a place to customers in the company so that they are a daily concern, otherwise the natural (follow the procedures and not listening to the customer) will necessarily return.
To do this, it is necessary to disseminate data from satisfaction surveys to as many people as possible, both to resolve any dissatisfaction, but also to communicate the feelings of customers.
It is crucial that satisfaction surveys are no longer the preserve of marketing, of the research department, but that this information is disseminated to as many people as possible.
For example via the eloquent Cockpit application, data from satisfaction surveys are disseminated via a simple smartphone:
Step 5: Make customer culture the DNA of the company and a daily reality
The last step is to make Customer Culture the natural DNA of the company.
This involves monitoring satisfaction indicators at all levels of the company (eg a barometer on the NPS, etc.), but also continuing to animate employees in order to make them the driving force of Customer Experience in the company. .
In a difficult competitive environment, the Customer Experience becomes a real differentiating factor, because the functions and the price never shelter a business, while the Customer Experience is much more complicated to copy.
Here is your action plan to spread a customer culture:
- Identify and base yourself on customer-oriented employees to launch your Customer Culture program;
- Play the mystery shopper for your own products to see how your employees are currently behaving with your customers;
- Materialize the customer orientation of management via dedicated communications;
- Contact us with a survey solution publisher (eg Eloquant.com) to launch an initial customer survey in order to have a photo of the Customer Experience.
Within 1 month
- Launch a survey with your collaborators, in order to have a photo of their level of customer culture, for example by setting up the C.O.S. ;
- Disseminate the results of your customer satisfaction surveys (e.g. Eloquant Cockpit App, dedicated emails, monthly reports, etc.);
- Set up concrete actions quickly and communicate about them.
Within 3 months
- Set up a hot listening device to manage customer dissatisfaction immediately, and disseminate customer comments throughout the company;
- Define a roadmap of priority actions with employees & customers.