By Stacey Watkins
What makes great companies so great? Most people would probably answer, “A killer product,” “A huge store that gives me tons of options,” or even “A technological superstar!” And this seems reasonable until you hear Shep Hyken answer this question. He says that great is not based on a cool product, lots of inventory or being a tech innovator: it’s just one thing — customer experience.
Shep, a customer service expert and author whose work has appeared on The New York Times’ best-seller list, says the key to success is creating a customer-centric culture in your business. In his white paper, “How to Create a Customer-Centric Culture,” he compares real-world examples of companies that are shrinking or thriving based on their customers’ experience rather than their product or storefront.
One company, for instance, has a cool product but famously bad service and is experiencing a market share decline as a result. A second company, despite a no-frills approach to its product, is growing rapidly — even with extraordinary pressure from corporate giants — because of its reputation for fantastic customer service.
And the formula for success isn’t tough. Shep outlines why companies that focus on customer service stand out and why the power of their customers’ positive word of mouth is so important. But how exactly do you create this customer-centric culture? Turns out that’s not so tough either; you just need to follow Shep’s six Ds:
- Define it. You should start by determining what customer service means to your company and what makes a great customer experience for your industry and your product. A clear definition will make it easier for employees understand what you need from them.
- Disseminate it. Once you decide what customer service means to your company, you need to let everyone — your customers, you employees, your main stakeholders — know your expectations. Some companies even print core values on cards for employees to have at their desks
- Deploy it. You know what you want. Your employees know what you want. Now, it’s time to get the ball rolling and start living these new values.
- Demonstrate it. This new initiative isn’t just for your employees to handle. You have to lead by example. Show your employees what you mean by customer-centric actions with how you handle your interactions with others.
- Defend it. Your new customer-centric approach won’t happen magically overnight; it’ll take some work to keep everyone on track. Use any missteps as learning opportunities and empower employees to be great.
- Delight in it. When you have success with customers, shout it from the rooftop. Celebrate anytime your company or an individual demonstrates your definition of great customer service.
Check out Shep’s white paper for more information on how you can find success by creating a customer-centric culture at your company.