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Building a customer service culture

BUILDING a customer service culture within an organisation is one of the most crucial steps in exceeding customer expectations.

While an organisation’s customer service delivery can be blueprinted and problems easily identified, they will not go away if the organisation does not have a customer service culture.

Indeed, involving staff in blueprinting and customer service measuring exercises can be one of the best ways to build a customer service culture.

Staff members are also one of the best sources of intelligence about customer gripes with an organisation’s service.

Marketing Centre managing director Mike Smith said it was crucial staff members were involved in plans to improve customer service.

“If an organisation is developing or delivering services through its staff, then those staff need to be involved,” Mr Smith said.

“Their feedback is invaluable. It can also be one of the most motivating exercises for an organisation.”

Staff dealing with customers directly will also have a better idea of what the customers want and be able to suggest whether a customer service improvement will work.

Keystone Management director Steve Simpson said most managers did not understand the culture of organisations, in particular the unwritten ground rules that underpinned them.

“Unwritten ground rules include things such as when a company talks about good customer service but the staff knows the ‘bosses aren’t serious so we don’t need to worry about it’,” Mr Simpson said.

“As a manager you have to align what people say with what people do.

“You also have to be seen to do something if some staff aren’t providing good customer service.

“The incredible thing about these unwritten ground rules is that managers have to deduce them before they can do anything about them.”

Curtin Graduate School of Business marketing lecturer Pene Welsh said managers and leaders needed to be role models for their staff.

“If you want staff to be customer focused then management needs to be staff focused,” she said.

“They also need to realise that service is situational specific. It needs to be based on what the customer wants from the organisation.

“Managers should hire on attitude and train up skills.

p Next week: Technology’s place in customer service.

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