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Employees will treat your customers EXACTLY the way you treat them. If your employees are well cared for, they will focus on being good to your customers.
This is why, according to Shep Hyken, the secret to building a customer service culture is not to start focusing on customers, but rather employees. He says that great companies "hire the right people to fit into the culture. They train them both technically and on how to deliver their brand of helpful customer service. The management and employees treat each other with dignity and respect, and in turn, they treat their customers in a similar fashion."
Can you think of a store that truly exemplifies the great customer service model? Think about it, whenever I need something for my home I dread going to Home Depot or Lowes. I’d rather go to a helpful place, like Ace Hardware. In their recent campaign they even showcase themselves as your neighbor. They have truly operationalized the word “helpful” into their culture. That is their version of customer service. Helpful is what gives them a competitive edge. They want to be known as the most helpful and trustworthy hardware store--and they are. Every time I walk into Ace Hardware, I’m immediately greeted and welcomed. Yes, I know that Home Depot and Lowes does that too, but Ace Hardware takes the cake because when I’m in an aisle looking at different sizes of washers or whatever, an Ace employee comes up to ME and asks if I need help. Not the other way around.
Here, at ActivEngage, we have a similar philosophy. Our managers hire people that fit our workplace culture and in turn, as a company we make them feel valued by the benefits we provide to them. It’s part of the reason why our chat-to-lead conversion is on average, at 80%. It’s part of the reason why our virtual sales associates (VSAs) are great at having conversations with your customers. It’s part of the reason why we are the most trusted brand in automotive live chat.
So how can you create a corporate culture that is customer service oriented?
Management must make the measurement of service quality and feedback from the customer a basic part of everyone's work experience.
Be very clear about specifying the behavior that employees are expected to deliver, both with external customers and their coworkers.
Create ways to communicate excellent examples of customer service both within and outside the company.
Indoctrinate and train everyone in the culture as soon as they are hired.
Encourage a sense of responsibility for group performance.
Establish policies that are "customer friendly" and that show concern for your customers.
Remove any employees who do not show the behavior necessary to please customers.
Remember, in order for a culture of customer service excellence to grow and thrive, management must have a burning desire for it to be that way. Your dealership must become a totally customer-focused organization. EVERYONE, from the top-down, must believe that they work FOR the customer.