How Purpose Rather Than Function Should Drive your Customer Service Culture
The competition for quality employees is stiff, and expected to become even more challenging in the years to come. Global competition demands it! Each company must turn its attention away from the traditional approach to customer service and look toward the development of a truly customer-centric customer service culture. Only then can they provide that rich experience and increased level of satisfaction that today’ consumers demand.
The questions companies must consider is as old as business commercial activity itself. What makes a person a good sales rep or customer service agent? Why do some of the seemingly brightest applicants end up damaging customer relations the minute they’re turned loose in your firm? For the answer to that question, it is important to understand the role that purpose plays in any organisation, and how it differs from function.
Purpose is the overriding goal of the organisation, and the reason the employee has a job. No one hires employees to stock shelves. They hire employees to fulfill customer needs. Stocking shelves is just one of the many daily functions that help to create the environment necessary for meeting those needs. As such, it is of lesser priority than any form of direct interaction with customers.
Do What Works
What happens when a company focuses on developing a peer environment that is committed to focusing on every customer need every minute of every day? Well, just look at some of the most efficient and effective companies in the world today. Companies like Disney and Apple have peer environments where the positive impact of peer pressure drives the entire team. They in-turn offer an ever-increasing level of value to the customer service culture.
That culture is seen in a wide range of businesses today. It is reflected in even the little things that employees do to demonstrate their attentiveness. In many large retail environments, employees will actually physically walk with a customer who has just asked for directions. Only leaving him when he is sure that he has found the area of the store he is looking for. Contrast that with the customer rep who simply points toward the destination. It’s pretty clear which will best reflect a culture that places the customer’s needs first.
Purpose – Not Function
For the customer representative who understands that his or her actual purpose is to provide successful customer outcomes, the choice of how to interact with any customer becomes very singular indeed. Many employees are never properly trained to recognize that this purpose should never be abandoned or neglected just so they can perform some task they are assigned – like stocking a shelf, for example. Purpose should always precede function, since the latter is merely part of the support network that makes the former possible.
To ensure that every employee in your company works to accomplish the corporate purpose, it is important to educate employees about how to prioritize that purpose over all the other functions that make the company run. When they can do that successfully, you will be well on your way to creating the customer service culture you need to compete in today’s business environment.