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When talking about creating a culture of customer service, it has to start at the top of the organization. Why? Because whatever top management thinks is important will be measured and employees can be held accountable to it. Also, staff will model what they see their leaders do. If leaders show customer service behaviors in their actions, most employees who want to become successful in the organization, will emulate these behaviors.

The key is in communicating the importance of customer service throughout the entire organization so that the frontline interfacing with your customers will know what to do. The best approach lies in “simplification and clear behaviors”. Management likes to talk and think in terms of strategy and dollars.  For example: How much is this going to cost? How much will we profit? What will be the bottom line results?

Frontline staff tend to talk and think in terms of tactics and things. For example: How can I keep this customer from getting angry? How will I make this customer happy? What will be the best way to respond to this customer to make them feel I care?

Customer service is a feeling, a memory, an impression that your customers receive from your frontline staff. A culture of service excellence comes from the consistency of the behaviors and attitudes exhibited in their interactions with the customers. Keeping it simple, the clearest way to communicate to the frontline staff the importance of giving great customer service is to give specific behaviors you want your customers to experience; such as,

• Actively listen to the customer to hear the intent behind their questions
• Anticipate next steps or issues customer may encounter and assist
• Use customer’s name and show empathy while in conversation with them
• Respond quickly back to a customer request with an answer
• Show a can-do attitude before telling a customer “No”

Letting staff share their stories of delivering Wow service to customers, giving recognition and praise for specific behaviors, and communicating consistently the value of a service-driven organization will all help to engrain customer service into your culture.

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