Organizations depend on a happy customer base for sustainable growth and long-term success. Delivering the best possible customer service starts with establishing a culture that puts employees and customers first.
Building a strong company culture takes time, work, and long-term commitment from all levels of a company, beginning at the top. Future employees will inherit the behavioral norms and expectations created by their founders during the early stages of the company. If leadership treats employees as they would their customers, it sets the tone for the entire business.
Although culture alone won’t determine a company’s success or failure, it will heavily influence how your employees interact with each other, and, more importantly, with your customers.
After you’ve laid the groundwork, focus on building out the next steps to follow.
Hire for character, then focus on training
Many would agree that you can train anyone to do a job well if you equip them with the best tools. When it comes to character, that’s another story. Developing a team of customer-first employees starts with a positive attitude and adaptability. Beyond this, look for employees who are driven by creativity and a willingness to improve. Impressive resumes may help a person get their foot in the door, but character is by and large what separates those who get hired from those who don’t.
For example, there’s a member on our Customer Success Team who reached out to us looking for a job months before she was hired. She didn’t necessarily have the experience we were looking for but was quick to demonstrate her passion for customers by sharing stories of when she worked as a server for her parents’ diner.
She also went out of her way to meet members of our Success Team and ask exploratory questions to get a feel for who our customers are and what they considered their biggest pain points. It was clear that she genuinely cared about people and that going above and beyond for her customers was part of who she was.
While it’s important to be empathetic and patient when engaging with customers, it’s equally as important to be your authentic self. As a leader, encourage your team to be themselves, own their mistakes, and let their personalities shine. Allowing customers to connect with your team in a human way is what keeps them happy and coming back.
When it’s time to start training your team, focus on honing customer service skills across all departments. Imagine an entire workforce capable of helping a customer regardless of their role. To do this, train everyone on the Customer Success Team to troubleshoot problems in very fine detail. Set your team up for success by giving them playbooks for every problem a customer may encounter with your product or service. Your goals are to make sure customers understand what is happening when things don’t go as planned.
Dedicating yourself to customer training and taking a consultative approach will reap rewards in the form of happy customers for years to come. We focus on empowering our customers with the tools and confidence they need to operate the software on their own.
Treat your customers as an extension of your company
Organizations should consider their customers an extension of their company. Their success is your success. Invest time into developing solutions, resources, and troubleshooting to champion their voice. Take extra care when onboarding your customers to help them translate existing workflows with new services.
At Jobber, we provide our customers with a software solution that helps small home services businesses organize their entire operations, from scheduling jobs and managing their crews, to invoicing customers and collecting payments. We realized early on that software is new to people, as many of them were running their businesses using pen and paper.
The key is truly understanding your customer’s pain points. To do this, we host regular customer panels so that our team can hear directly from end-users what a day in their life is like. This unfiltered conversation provides honest feedback into what is working, what isn’t, and what some of the bigger challenges are for small business entrepreneurs. This provides insights that cannot be uncovered in short interactions.
A better understanding of a customer’s day-to-day allows for new policies to be implemented that boost customer service. Train your support team to view customer training like they would coaching. Providing more real-time reliability and having knowledge around specific pain points in each stage of a customer’s journey will yield stronger relationships. Harboring a successful relationship will influence customers to explore additional features offered and maximize the full potential of a given product or service.
Set daily goals that measure up to big picture success
Setting goals and working toward them keep employees driven to succeed. Where possible, extend goal setting to customer-service by setting up a system of daily benchmarks or gamifying the process. Celebrate when your employees take an extraordinary step in customer service and recognize when someone steps up to help a customer despite an otherwise full schedule. Acknowledging employees for outstanding customer satisfaction goes a long way toward developing that customer-first culture.
On a larger scale, measure success by optimizing your Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), a commonly used key performance indicator for tracking customers’ satisfaction levels. Insight into how customers view your product or service will help you assess the strength of your offering in the market. Set an organization-wide goal to keep your company’s CSAT high and make it one of your biggest priorities. Doing so will give your team a more meaningful target to assess their performance and understand areas of improvement.
The primary goal of any Customer Success Team is to ensure satisfaction with a company’s product or service. Aligning your team with the mission of your company and ensuring they know the value of that mission to your end user is essential.
Furthermore, creating an environment that supports customer success will directly affect the way your customers engage with you and your products. Onboard employees who are enthusiastic about your company’s mission, remember that you and your customers share the same success and set achievable customer service goals for your internal teams. Doing all three will help create the best customer-first culture for your organization and build exceptional customer loyalty for your brand.
About the Author
Justine Burns is the Director of Customer Success at Jobber, the leading provider of home service management software. She joined the company in 2014 as the first customer success hire and has since scaled the department into three, distinct functional groups made up of 31 people across two offices in Edmonton, AB, and Toronto, ON, Canada. Justine believes that customer service should be approached in an authentic way and heavily encourages her team to build meaningful and lasting relationships with Jobber’s customers.