Ground Up: Establishing a Customer-Focused Culture (Part 1 of 3)
Customer satisfaction. That’s what motivates me. It also helps create a foundation that I can rely on to implement and measure. First, let’s take a closer look at what customer satisfaction is.
What is Customer Satisfaction?
According to the business dictionary definition, customer satisfaction is, "the degree of satisfaction provided by the goods or services of a company as measured by the number of repeat customers.”
To me, that’s a pretty broad statement. So, instead of relying on a generic statement, let’s take a peek at what influences a customer experience and overall satisfaction rate.
I have fourteen years of customer service experience, five of those years I have spent managing various teams. Currently, I lead all aspects of a professional services team for a SaaS product. This involves implementation, customer success, support, and solutions engineering. My role is to support my team members with whatever they need.
Given my background, I believe the significant influencers of creating a great customer experience relate to people, processes, and measurements. When combined, they all help influence the success of a customer's experience, AKA customer satisfaction.
To help YOU establish a culture that gives your team the autonomy and support they need to focus on their customers, below are four strategies I use to enable my team.
Establishing a Customer-Focused Culture
1: Stay Connected
It’s essential for every team member to feel important and understood. Staying close to your team as well as staying close to your customers allows you to ensure that you can provide feedback promptly and frequently. Let your team know when you see the things they are doing well, as well as when you see areas that they can improve. This should be an ongoing conversation and not something that waits for an annual performance review.
2: Identify Opportunities
Continuously work to identify opportunities for personal and professional improvement for yourself and your team. Never stop growing and encourage your team to do the same. Your team will increasingly expand their toolset to support customers and will continue to be engaged if you work to provide them with opportunities that they can improve their skillset. Matt Straz, a guest writer for Entrepreneur.com and CEO of Namely, mentioned that "providing coaching and development activities throughout the year is an employer’s best bet to create a culture of growth within the workplace.”
3: Don’t Micromanage
Staying connected doesn’t mean you have to micromanage your team. ‘Do’ understand what they're working on, how they are progressing, and what their overall workload is. If you don't understand what they're working on, you can't provide guidance or support when they need it. In my experience, this opens the door for them to fail in significant ways. ‘Don’t’ involve yourself so deeply in their day to day work that they don’t feel they have the authority to manage their work and act on what they hear from their customers without running it by you first. Forbes Coaches Council wrote a great article about how to stop micromanaging team members for new and experienced leaders. The article references that micromanaging leads teams to feel over-scrutinized and distrusted, which is the opposite result of what you want to achieve.
4: Never Dictate
Not everything has to be a decision by a committee but let everyone on your team have a say and a voice, especially on the important initiatives and decisions that impact their daily work life and how they work with their customers. Giving your team the freedom to have a say and a voice in dealing with their customers impacts their work ethic and attitude. Susan Heathfield, a management and organization development consultant who specializes in human resources and management development, discusses this in detail in an article listed on the balance careers.
Practicing these skills gives your team the foundation to deliver a great customer experience. It also influences your daily routine to accomplish customer experiences thoughtfully. Stay tuned for part 2, Ground Up: Delivering a Great Customer Experience as well as more tips and tricks on customer success management.