Being in customer service for over 20 years, I’ve had a myriad of experiences working with thousands of customers. I’ve seen things go right, I’ve seen things go wrong, I’ve learned from mistakes. All of these experiences have taught me the importance of making your customers’ a priority and ensuring they are always satisfied. The rest falls into place after that.
“Take care of our customers’ and the business will take care of itself.”
– Joseph Catapano, VP Communications Systems at Valmont Industries, Inc.
Customer Centric Culture
You should always give your customers’ maximum effort. If you show your customer how hard you work for them, not only will they appreciate that, they will think of you as a partner. There are a host of actions that can equate to this. Things like coming in early, working through lunch, staying late, immediately responding to requests, all these things equate to maximum effort.
In addition to being customer centric and serving your customer on an individual basis, if you are in a position of leadership, it’s important that you create a culture of customer centric attitudes and actions, so as a company your customers’ are consistently taken care of the same way no matter who they interact with.
Respond With A Sense Urgency
In our industry, as in most industries, time is of the essence. Time is valuable, time is precious. We all know this. There are deadlines for projects, there are quotes that have to be submitted on time and if your customers’ are not treated with a sense of urgency, this can hinder their work. If their work is hindered, like a domino effect, this will come back to you. That’s why it’s always important to not procrastinate or let things sit with customers’. You want to be a valuable asset to them, a trusted partner – a pivotal component of their business which they can rely on. In order for this to be the case throughout your customer base, you must treat their projects and requests with a sense of urgency.
Always Deliver Quality
It’s important to honor what you say you’re going to deliver on. If you say you’ll deliver a lion – you had better not deliver a kitten. Most people think of customer service as just taking care of the customer’s needs over the phone. That’s not the case. True customer service is fulfilled not only when placing an order, but ensuring your customer is satisfied after delivery.
Patrick Finn, our Key Accounts Operations & Logistics Manager always looks to the following quote as his inspiration:
“I look at each day as a chance to move one notch above yesterday – whether it’s in service quality, delivery, speed, or any other aspect of the business.”
– Daniel Snyder
Earning Their Loyalty
All companies should seek the loyalty of their customers’. If you fulfill your duty on the points above, the result is that you won’t have to strive for their loyalty – they won’t want to leave you.
“Customer loyalty comes from consistent experience. They learn to count on you.”
– Jimmy John Liautaud
It’s imperative that you yourself are loyal to your customers’, and fulfill your duty to them by focusing on them, giving them the attention they deserve, responding rapidly to their requests and ultimately delivering quality from the start, to the completion of the sale and beyond.
Summing It Up With Actionable Steps
So how do you change the culture at your company to be more customer-centric? How can you take your customer relationships to the next level? How can you make your customers’ feel appreciated and spur loyalty from them? It all starts with a basic understanding – that there is no company without satisfied customers’. Customers’ are truly the lifeblood of any business. Your livelihood ultimately depends on their satisfaction. It’s important that your colleagues in any position at the organization have an understanding of this so that they can seek excellence in everything they do when serving a customer.
After this basic understanding is established, it all starts with you. On an individual basis, especially in positions of leadership, you have to demonstrate a willingness to go the extra mile for your customers’.
Start today by engaging more with your customers’, making their priorities, your priorities. This can mean reaching out to a customer and:
- Getting Feedback
Ask them about their last good and bad experience. Take this feedback and act on it.
- Delivery More of What Went Right
If they tell you what’s working for them, keep it up. Make it a priority to make their experience as consistent as possible.
- Correcting What Went Wrong
If they tell you what they didn’t like, look into it to identity the root cause. Once identified, make sure to follow back up with the customer to review.
- Ask About Their Day To Day Business
Ask them questions about current projects, challenges, needs, etc. By doing this, this will help you identify the best solutions, tailored to that customer’s needs.
- Ask Them What Else You Can Do
Go beyond this list. You need to open the lines of communication and ask your customers’ if there is any way you could help to serve them in addition to the points they have already identified. In many cases, you’ll find there is a challenge just waiting to be solved, that the customer may not have even thought of yet. This will provide you with further opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to them.
All in all, by putting these points into action, you’ll see a more satisfied, loyal customer. The customer-centric culture you have created will effect customers’ both now in in the future times to come.
Mike Clementi serves as the National Sales Manager at Valmont Site Pro 1 and Valmont Structures for the America’s. When he first began his career with Site Pro 1, he turned a $500K territory into a high producing 7 figure territory as a Regional Sales Manager. Learn More