For us in the hardwood lumber industry being customer centric is very important. We spend a lot of time and effort trying to find new and better ways to serve our customers succeed.
From experience, we know that developing and maintaining a customer-centric culture within a company requires a conscious focus in strategy and a genuine commitment to putting the customer first in all departments.
If you are looking for ways to enhance or create a customer centric culture maybe some of these ideas will help you.
- Do not take your existing customers for granted. Businesses must, of course, pursue robust new customer-acquisition strategies, but a customer-centric culture emphasizes the importance of cultivate existing customer relationships as well. Every customer has their own preferences and purchasing patterns. When you conduct business according to those preferences, the customer has more reason to stay invested with your organization.
- Enable employees with the right customer-focused skills and tools. Not every employee has direct contact with your customers, but they are all involved in one way or another in ensuring eventual customer satisfaction. For us it is everyone from the hardwood forester and the lumber buyer to the sawmill manager, fork lift driver and the office receptionist. Everyone has a role in helping our customers realize the greatest value they can when using our products and services therefore everyone has to keep the customer’s best interests in mind.
- Encourage cross department collaboration. Some companies fall victim to the creation of department silos. When that happens, sometime people don’t know the full picture when interacting with customers. It’s up to senior leaders to reduce the prevalence of silos and to stress instead the need for differing departments to understand each other’s purpose and continually find ways to collaborate on behalf of your customers.
- Promote new customer service idea creation from your frontline and sales staff. Who better to suggest new ways of serving your customers than employees who regularly interact with them? A strong customer-centric culture grows out of an enthusiastic involvement by employees who leverage their customer service experience into new policies and procedures that span the organization and result in enhanced customer satisfaction.
- Prioritize a “customer-first” agenda. There’s little chance of changing the culture if leaders don’t maintain that focus in all their communications and interactions with employees.
It is important that you regularly seek new ideas and strategies when it comes to a customer centric culture. Remember to recognize individual team members who go above and beyond in helping customers. As you do you will see a transformation towards creating a work environment where thinking about your customers takes priority over virtually every other agenda item.
Do you have any other suggestions? Please let us know! We are always looking for new ways to please our customers!