Awesome Culture As Easy As Customer Service

Yours truly rocking the circle desk.  How can I help you?

Yours truly rocking the circle desk. How can I help you?

This post was originally published on the ICMI blog on October 1, 2014.  Click here to read the original post and other great resources from ICMI.

Culture is a funny thing isn’t it?  A poor culture almost ensures that your employees will be running for the exits with your customer experience suffering in the process.  Ask your newest hire what they think of the company culture and they can tell you if your culture is attractive or not.  Now ask your customers and I bet they can tell you a lot about the culture based on their interactions with customer service.

I’m here to tell you that there is hope—and us customer service folks are perhaps better equipped to improve our company culture than anyone.  What’s the trick you ask?  You know all of those awesome customer service skills that help you wow customers?  Point a few of those inward toward your colleagues and watch your company culture shift.  Allow me to name a few so you get what I’m talking about.

1. Lead with empathy– We love the word empathy and for good reason.  It’s all about genuinely caring about the feelings of another person.  Raise your hand if you don’t have empathy somewhere on a QA form in your call center.   Customer service leaders, how do you rate the level of empathy you show to your staff?

2. Watch how you talk about people– Gossip is a fantastic culture killer.  It’s so easy in customer service to get in this mode of customer bashing.  I know I’ve been guilty of it.  Talking poorly about customers affects your attitude toward those customers.  In the same way, talking poorly about other employees has that same effect.

3. Demonstrate that can do spirit– Nothing is more deflating to a customer than when they call customer service for help only to hear a “No. Sorry, I can’t help you.”  In the exact same way, employees hate hearing this same line internally.  When an employee comes to you with a problem, adopt a buck stops here mentality and take responsibility for the solution.  Then they get to go back to the customer with a solution rather than a sad face.

4. Lighten up a little bit—or a lot– I love nothing more than a customer service professional that is personable and friendly.  It’s like talking to a person instead of a robot.  In the same way, it’s ok to have a little fun with your colleagues.  It’s ok not to be all business all the time.  Teams that laugh together stay together!

5. Seek to understand– Those difficult customers are really the true test.  By seeking to understand where the customer is coming from, we set ourselves in the best possible place to work with them.  The same goes for employees.  Those difficult relationships are going to require extra effort and understanding.  Tools that help understand the unique strengths and ability of your team are invaluable.

As leaders, awesome company culture doesn’t just happen and it’s not as simple as planning trips to play paintball or buying lunch for the office—though those can’t hurt.  To build a fantastic culture, practice all of those customer service skills that you preach on your most important customers—those people serving your customers.


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  • Agreed!!! Creating an incredibly positive culture will benefit the customer experience. A positive customer experience will help promote a positive culture. They are all connected. Great post Jeremy. Well said. xo

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