Customer Service, Core Values, and Leadership – Walk the Walk

Walking the Walk
Walking the Walk

Here’s an excerpt from the action guide Creating a Customer Centric Culture that is soon to be launched.  I’m posting this not only to get your feedback, but also because it is the crux of several conversations I’ve had with clients this week.  We’ve been improving customer service training and focusing on customer satisfaction.  It all comes back to the way that you want customers to feel when doing business with your company.  The experience is what will keep them coming back or life, or what will lose them forever to your competition.

The focus of my conversation with clients this past week was to have the Core Values of the company transparent to everyone – staff and customers alike.  It is essential that everyone understand them in order to live by them and to best serve the customer and the company.  Leadership must be committed to this process and serve as the example in all areas.  Staff watch and learn at all times.  Yes, they even judge when we make mistakes.  The point is to lead by example because teams will do exactly what they see their leaders do.

Now that you have your Core Values, broadcast them to your teams.  Share these values with your staff.  Tell them that you value their efforts to uphold these values while interacting with customers and with each other.

Your staff will appreciate the fact that they know what is important to the organization.  They need to know this in order to know what is expected of them and how to best serve the customer and fulfill their own responsibilities.

During meetings and events, hang posters or banners with these core values on them. Some companies even go so far as to have cards with their ideal culture and core values printed and laminated for staff to carry with them at all times while at work.  If you are able to have these printed on your payroll, that is an excellent way to reinforce to your team that they are being compensated for their role in providing a customer centric culture and demonstrating the core values of the company.

While it may seem that they are being flooded with these core values, that is exactly the point.  They need to be the DNA of your company.  Staff needs to be able to recite these in their sleep, practice them, live them, teach them, and demonstrate them with customers.

Again, all of this is for naught without the commitment of the leadership team to exemplify, reinforce, and practice these core values.  You must talk the talk, and walk the walk.  It’s all about accountability and leadership by example.

How many times have you encountered leadership that has said one thing, but they themselves have done another or have not promoted the very ideals that the company has promoted?

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