Does Your Corporate Culture Match Your Contact Center Culture?

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Corporate culture is frequently mentioned, usually in generality, by the leaders of organizations. “We believe in…we support…we work toward…we are….” Corporate culture is commonly tied to mission and vision statements that define the way a brand thinks, behaves and works (really, the people behind the brand). Target calls customers “guests” to make them feel more welcome. Nike encourages people to “Just Do It” and gives them the athletic tools to do so.

Does your organization have a defined corporate culture, and does it extend to and encompass the contact center? If you’re not sure, think about a few questions. Is the focus on the bottom line or on ensuring customer satisfaction? Are your customer care agents empowered to do what’s necessary to keep customers happy and returning? What are the core corporate values, and how are they translated into customer service?

The contact center can be the first, and sometimes only, interaction customers have with a real, live person “behind” the brand. The contact center is also usually the most customer-focused area of an organization, because it is constantly and consistently interacting with customers—but it may focus on different things than the overall corporate culture. It’s important to make sure your contact center is strategically aligned with the brand’s goals, messages and activities…and maybe even derive some of those goals, messages and activities from the customer focus of the contact center.

Here are nine tips to incorporate the customer-focused contact center culture to the rest of your organization:

1. Position the contact center at the core of customer experience management.

It’s where the customer journey starts and ends, so the contact center is supremely important. Make sure the messages shared by contact center agents are consistent with brand messages.

2. Align the contact center with the overall brand’s strategy and priorities for the customer experience.

This is a no-brainer. Make sure the contact center is working toward the same strategy and priorities to ensure outstanding customer experiences as the brand.

3. Identify and share key performance indicators (KPIs) across the organization, including Sales, Marketing, Services, IT, Operations and Finance.

The only way different departments will understand each other is to communicate, even if they are not on the same page. Encourage sharing, feedback and interaction. Ideally, KPIs for each department will work in concert toward the overall corporate vision and culture.

4. Create a “Customer Experience Vision” and showcase it in a simple, intuitive fashion, demonstrating the contact center’s role in making the vision a reality.

A brand’s vision of the customer experience helps ensure consistent behavior and actions. Gather input from each department or functional area and use it to create a vision statement and actions resulting from that vision.

5. Create shared dashboards that are visible, simple and fun.

Create friendly competition and encourage interaction. Help individuals and departments share and celebrate successes. This all works toward reinforcing corporate culture and a focus on customer service.

6. Identify “small win” opportunities and work on the low-hanging fruit first. Celebrate early successes.

Create momentum by getting a few quick successes under the collective belt. This demonstrates the brand supports all efforts toward the customer focus and culture and increases the drive to achieve more.

7. Communicate progress often.

Keep teams up to date on their progress and that of the brand overall. Dashboards are great for this, along with regular updates.

8. Reward the entire team for achieving milestones and KPIs.

This can be as simple or as elaborate as desired. It’s all about encouraging good work and striving for progress toward the overall goals.

9. Benchmark progress against the rest of the industry and adopt best practices to continuously improve.

Look at leaders in your industry, as well as top worldwide brands. Any brand known for its customer focus (think Apple, Amazon and others) is a good check point.

More details on all of these tips are included in my recent article for ICMI. I know determining and following corporate culture can seem overwhelming, but when you think about the benefits of a culture that encompasses the contact center and focuses on the customer, you’ll find big positives. Give it a try and see!

Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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