A strong service culture within your business leads to improvements in customer experience and can give your business a competitive advantage in your industry.

Because customers now have more choice than ever — making it even easier to switch suppliers or service providers — field service businesses must work harder and smarter to build relationships with customers and sustain long-term loyalty. Building a service culture within a company is an extremely valuable way to do this, as it leads to opportunities for higher growth and revenue and helps create strong relationships with your customers.

2016_FEB_ALL_PRODUCTIVITY - Building a service culture

The question is where do you start?

As more companies recognise how valuable customer service is, it’s important to not just improve service performance. You must also create a company environment where both management and employees are committed to continuous service improvement and where customers’ needs are central to decisions about systems, processes, and behaviours.

Seek feedback

The first step in developing a strong service culture is to find out what your customers want from your company, product, or services. Conducting this ongoing research can help you gain insight into how your company performs and how it’s seen by your customers. Importantly, you can see where and what to improve on to help strengthen customer relationships.

Set the tone

If you are serious about developing a service culture within your company, you must start at the top. As a business owner or manager, your actions and attitude set the tone for the employees. If you project a service attitude in your own day-to-day actions and dealings, it helps to establish to the rest of the business a customer-centric focus. If you want your employees to adopt your policies, the best way is to show them how.

Set guidelines and train

Your business’s culture is also developed through setting formal guidelines and communications. Whether this is through your mission statement, employee manual, or customer service policy, you must use any opportunity you have to educate and train your employees in customer-centric policies. Having these guidelines already in place also helps when you hire new employees. With an established policy, you should be able to quickly assimilate any new workers into your environment.

Recognise and reward

No matter what you say to establish the service culture you want, actions are by far the strongest method to reinforce the importance of a customer-centric focus. If you continually emphasise the importance of the service culture throughout interviews, employee evaluations and raises, it demonstrates to your employees the company’s commitment.

Publicly recognising a particular employee’s customer service performance is another way to set a precedent in the workforce. Rewarding top service providers can help to encourage other employees to act in the same way. It might also mean you may have to remove employees who don’t share your desire or attitude to fit into this type of culture.

If customer satisfaction underpins your business’s success, then building a service culture within your company is one of the most important things you can do. Building an uplifting service however, requires everyone to take responsibility, from top to bottom and bottom to top.

Erin Haywood simPRO

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