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Wednesday 8th March 2017

Customer Care Is Dead…Long live a vibrant culture!


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How many times have you walked into a shop, doctors’ surgery, garage or council office and known immediately that you were going to receive absolutely terrible service? 

You might just as well turn around and walk straight back out again because they don’t want you there, you are a complete nuisance and a waste of their time. They’re the kind of people who say: ‘If it wasn’t for the customers, everything would be great.’

Hang on a second – no customers means no business, doesn’t it? So what do you do? Obviously you send everybody on a customer care course. But before you do, ask yourself how many people have actually enjoyed such a course? And how many people booked leave to coincide with it?

The old idea of customer care is dead. If you are going to deliver fantastic customer service, you need to go right to the soul and culture of your organisation – which is why a traditional customer care course on its own, will achieve absolutely nothing.

You need to create a vibrant, energetic culture where people take pride in their work and in their company, because happy, focused people equal happy customers. Amazingly, most organisations don’t do that. By creating a positive business culture you can gain an advantage over your opposition and deliver great customer service.

The hardest question when embarking on a cultural change programme is often: where should I start? The answer is with your most important asset, your employees. Ask yourself why is there a need for change; to save money, to save jobs, to merge with or transfer to another organisation? An impending inspection or simply a desire to compete with others and be the best you can be? Whatever the reason, make sure it is real and compelling and explain it to your staff clearly and regularly.

Create a sense of urgency for change and explain what the consequences of not changing means directly and personally to members of staff. Whatever the message, it will need to be hard-hitting to cause the initial momentum and urgency necessary for lasting change.

In fact, one of the main reasons for the failure of business and culture change programmes is an inability to communicate messages clearly. So do ensure your internal communication systems are in place and you can involve people immediately in beginning the change process. Remember to:

  • tell staff why there is a need to change;
  • explain the personal consequences of not changing;
  • share the advantages of changing; and
  • involve them fully in the process.

Liam O’Connell is a business change consultant. www.liamoconnell.co.uk

If your looking for a fresh approach for inspiring people to deliver customer service excellence give Liam a call on 07714 379372