Making Great Customer Service a Part of Your Culture

customerservicecultureCompanies that provide great customer service have a way of engraining it in their culture. They make customer service everyone’s job, not just the customer service team’s. And they often have a unique way of defining what customer service looks like in their organization.

Just how do they do this?

Make customer service a core competency

One of the ways you achieve this is by making customer service a core competency.

In HR and management land, competencies are the behaviors, attitudes or skills that underpin high performance and success in a role. Translate that up to the company level, and they help to define a company’s competitive advantage. They describe “how” work gets done.

If you embed these core competencies in all or your talent management processes, like recruiting, performance management, employee development, succession planning, compensation, etc., you can help to engrain them in your culture.

At my company, Halogen Software, that’s exactly what we’ve done. Customer service is one of our core values, and therefore a core competency.

Customer service is everyone’s responsibility

So we make it part of everyone’s job, whether you’re a software developer, facilities manager, marketing writer, or have a direct customer facing role.

We start by including that core competency in every job description.

And our recruiting process is very focused on cultural fit. So we’re not just looking for technical skills, we try to assess every candidate’s customer focus as well. During the interview process, we ask candidates to explain what exceptional customer service means to them, show where they have provided exceptional customer experience, their experience in discovering/meeting client needs, etc.

When managers review employees’ performance and provide coaching and feedback, they focus on how the employee is providing great customer service in their role, or contributing to customer satisfaction. And it’s addressed in all of our regular performance appraisals.

When we look to develop and promote people in the organization, we consider how they put customer service first in their work.

Great customer service is meant to be shared

Then we share stories about great customer service. If an employee gets an email or phone call from a customer praising the service they received, we share that with everyone. If one of our customer satisfaction surveys, training evaluations, sales follow-ups or customer support follow-ups flags a special interaction that delighted a customer, we share it.

And we regularly and continually ask our customers how we’re doing and how we can improve.

By making customer service a core competency and embedding it in all our talent management processes, we’ve helped to make great customer service a part of our culture.

I’d love to hear how others are making great customer service a part of their culture.

Kelly Murphy is a Strategic Clients Manager at Halogen Software. Follow Kelly on Twitter.

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