Improving customer satisfaction starts from within.
In a recent survey of the ‘best in class’ companies using Client Heartbeat, we found that one of the seven key drivers for high customer satisfaction is a company’s culture.
So with that in mind, how can you leverage company culture to improve satisfaction?
That’s the question I want to help you with today.
High satisfaction boils down to four simple tactics:
- 1. Understand what makes a good culture
- 2. Emphasize culture through hiring and training process
- 3. Focus on staff retention.
- 4. Lead from the front as the Managing Director or CEO
The first tactic…
1. Understand what makes a good company culture
What do you define as a good company culture?
We found that a culture that breeds high customer satisfaction has these five characteristics:
- The team has a distinct appreciation for customer service.
- The team understands the impact their service has on their clients businesses.
- The team are willing to go out of their way to meet customer expectations.
- The team takes pride in their work and have standard that they want to live up to
- The team works well together to achieve company and client goals.
Whenever company culture gets thrown into the conversation I love to reference Zappos. They are a perfect example of a company who uses culture as a way to increase customer satisfaction.
Here’s an excerpt from the Zappos Family Core Values:
As we grow as a company, it has become more and more important to explicitly define the core values from which we develop our culture, our brand, and our business strategies.
My two favorite values from Zappos:
- Deliver WOW Through Service. They empower staff to go the extra mile for customers. They don’t have KPIs around call time; instead they are encouraged to create unique experiences that make customers go WOW.
- Embrace and Drive Change. Business is changing at a rapid speed. The companies who can embrace change and adapt (or even drive) will win the war for new and retained business. Zappos encourages their team to think outside the box and drive the changes they want to see.
2. Emphasize culture through the hiring and training process
You can’t expect a new team member to pick up on the company culture by themselves.
The best companies have programs in place to teach every new team member about their values and their culture.
A training program doesn’t need to be massive. It might just be a few pages and a few hours one on one with the managing director.
You need get buy-in from your employees. If they cannot see your vision and do not want to be a part of the culture, you should get rid of them straight away.
The core values that someone might hold personally plays an important role in whether they can adapt and fit into your culture.
Steve Schafer, President of Leading IT likes to screen potential new hires for whether they’ll fit into his company’s culture. In a recent interview he told me that he looks for new team members who share the same values. He hires people that value personal relationships, care about what they do, strive to deliver quality and act like a ‘servant’ when dealing with customers.
In another example, Zappos does a great job at screening out potential new hire that don’t share the same values. They put all new hires on a two week induction course before they even let them talk to any customers.
Here’s an excerpt from a great piece by Andy Partridge on Zappos Culture:
During the interview process the HR department uses competency based interviewing to identify how potential recruits would demonstrate these core values in order to ensure they recruit people who’d best suit the culture, and even having done that, Tony also says that during the induction training programme trainees are offered $2000 to leave with all expenses paid if they don’t feel that they fit the culture. You can see Tony explaining this in the video on our culture page.
Keep reading: Zappos: Your Culture is Your Brand
Want to learn more about Zappos culture? Watch this video of CEO Tony Hsieh talking about his company’s culture.
3. Focus on staff retention
Have you ever done business with a company where you dealt with a different person every time you made a request?
Staff turnover not only affects your business from an internal point of view, it is also not good for your customers. Your customers want to be dealing with one person that they can build a relationship with and trust
If you have high turnover, there’s no opportunity for you to build that long-lasting relationship. This puts you at risk of being caught out and not knowing if your customers are happy or not.
The best companies have high staff retention. They put a focus on their people.
At R&G Technologies, one of the company’s core values is…
Our people come first – we must work from the inside out!
This is a great example.
How do you expect your employees to deliver an outstanding customer experience if you don’t care about them?
Focus on your staff first. Over time, your staff will embody your company values and they will come through when dealing with customers.
Another great example of staff retention is from a company called Quorum Systems in Sydney, Australia. They haven’t lost a staff member since they started in 2005. Nearly ten years!
Here are some benefits you can get from maintaining high staff retention:
- Your customers get a consistent experience… they will know all the staff and know who they will deal with each time.
- Your customers will see the company as stable and trustworthy.
4. Lead from the front as the Managing Director or CEO
Out of the ‘best in class’ companies surveyed in our report, six told me that as Managing Director or CEO, they lead from the front when it came to company culture.
The Managing Director in these cases embodied the culture and naturally looked to hire new team members that fitted well with their own personal values.
Even if a company didn’t have a set company culture formalized and written down, the culture rubbed of the Managing Director subconsciously. They naturally looked for people that shared the same values as they did.
One particularly example was from Craig Sharp from Abussi IT. He told me that he always leads from the front. Whether that be going out to see clients once a quarter, or picking up the phone to follow up on a project. When hiring a new team member, he looks for people who are courteous and go the extra mile. Those two values are what he personally lives by and what believe are the reasons his company has achieved ‘best in class’ status.
Steve Schafer from Clearpath IT told me the same thing. He hires people that share the same values as him – his company doesn’t necessarily have a written process it place, but instead he subconsciously finds new people that share similar values to him and the other team members.
Can company culture help you increase customer satisfaction?
The top companies use company culture to achieve industry high customer satisfaction.
If you’re looking for a proven strategy to increase satisfaction, company culture is a good place to start.
Use the advice and information you’ve learnt today to start implementing and putting in place a culture that breeds high satisfaction with your clients.
Here’s what I want you to do next:
- Watch this video by Tony Hsieh about Zappos Culture.
- Sit down with your team and decided on five core values for your company.
- Embody these values in everything you do and encourage your staff to do the same.
- Put these values up around the office and on your intranet,; make sure everyone is aware of them.
- Think about these values when you make your next hire; also think about any existing team members who you think might not share the same values.