Importance of Culture

The importance of company culture in customer service isn’t something I talk about that frequently or that directly – especially in relation to how important it is. An upcoming interview on Service Untitled features a company that has an extremely customer-centric culture. The company’s CEO says the culture has been a big reason for their success.

Most other great customer service organizations have a culture that realizes the importance of great customer service and encourages great service. Exceptional customer service does not happen by accident and it starts off at a company culture level.

Think of words or phrases that might describe a company’s broader culture:

  • fun
  • hard working
  • customer dedication
  • respect / integrity

A lot of these are relative buzzwords, but they do have substance. Company’s that value and promote hard work and customer dedication will probably make better customer service companies than those that list “lowest prices” as one of the elements of their culture.

Culture is usually influenced from the top down, often starting in the beginning of the company’s history. Not all companies start off as an X organization and end up a Y organization, but establishing a new company culture in an established company is extremely difficult.

With that in mind, the best time to start building a customer service culture is now. The bigger you get, the harder it will be to build a culture for something that you don’t already have.

Some of the most objective, least “touchy feeling” advice I have for building customer service friendly cultures is:

  • Encourage great customer service and reward those who provide it.
  • Have policies, procedures, etc. that allow for the provision of great service.
  • Maintain a constant focus on customer service.
  • Have fun as individuals, groups, and a company.

Those are just a few of the many ways to build a culture that is customer service focused. There are of course hundreds of other ways to do it (and I don’t claim to know all of them by any means) and many of the ideas are extremely good.

Regardless of how you make it happen, a culture that focuses on customer service is required to being a great service organization. If your culture is not there, the exceptional customer service won’t be either.