You may hear, quite often, the phrase "customer-oriented service". It's a trendy expression, now, isn't it? There is an impression that everybody utilizes it, but what is it in a nutshell? Theoretically, it is all about guiding questions that are not clear for consumers. But, can every service be customer-oriented? And if you have a customer care department in your company, does it mean, automatically, that it has a customer-oriented marketing strategy?
Surely, it's not that simple. Actually, we can't imagine the modern world without being customer service-oriented, as all of the most outstanding businesses used this approach to arrive where they are now. In this article, we will clear some prospects about why it must be at the core of your mindset and share some examples from different branches to ensure that you can implement it.
What is a customer-oriented approach, and why is it the only way to become successful?
Customer service-oriented means putting the needs and demands of the clients first and the sales ambitions of the company second. That identifies that the quality of the service provided should be a priority, and customer's experience or feedback must be analyzed thoroughly to raise the quality all the time.
At first glance, this statement sounds harsh, a bit, no? Actually, if you are a sales-first-oriented company, it can be. In reality, customer-oriented strategies are the most money-making (don't say that we are too pragmatic). The thing is that any basic statistics can prove to you that finding new clients is much harder and more expensive than attracting and interest an already existing client base. Moreover, happy customers will be your best brand promoters, as nobody can make a better advertisement than a satisfied client.
What you have to understand is that, yes, the product and its value aren't less important, but these are customers, who bring you their money, so they deserve to be served, at your best. Customer service orientation is a win-win strategy, and how the practice of many brands shows - is the only one.
As you can see, to achieve such a big goal, you can't just leave it to your customer orientation department - all members and employees of your company have to work together. Customer acquisition, loyalty, and sales development should become a personal reason for each worker.
How to create a customer-oriented culture?
So, how to cultivate customer orientation and grow your organization according to give-receive principles.
1. Right people - right service
Of course, you have to begin with your customer service-oriented team. These folks will be on the front line with clients and act on your behalf, so their interaction and approach will directly reflect your attitude towards customers. While hiring, pay attention to some critical customer-oriented definition qualities like the ability to resolve problems, thinking out of the box, fast learning, sincere desire to help - are among the list of most crucial. Also, providing opportunities for growth and respecting your employees will be an incentive for their personal development and, as a result, a higher level of customer service.
2. Make empathy your credo
When we start talking about what is customer orientation in marketing, first of all, we will mention empathy. The thing is, most often, when people are calling for help, in customer service, in fact, in addition to solving the problem, they want to get a dose of sympathy. Besides, we know how often things can get out of control, and fast problem-solving can be difficult, and empathy is the only thing that can keep the client from angry feedback on the website. At the same time, don't forget that such an approach should be practiced at all levels of your company to understand customers' needs better.
3. Systematize a working process
What is customer service orientation without clear underlined standards? Nothing great. Creating a system of rules isn't only about control, as many may think. It is a tool, which will work, as a reference point, for your employees. Standardizing, like NPS (Net Promoter Score) and CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score), will assist your workers in assessing their position on their own and showing where the weak points are, suggest a solution, and fix the problem. Additionally, customer-oriented means that the metrics you choose will help you set the goals and discover new horizons.
4. Collect customers' feedback
Listening to your customers lies at the heart of a customer service-oriented definition. When you ask clients' opinions, they feel that you appreciate them and that their point of view matters. Besides, you shouldn't wait until something goes wrong, and clients will start to complain. To prevent the problem before it will appear, it isn't enough to ask once - ask all the time! Outside customers are best at seeing existing flows, and your task is to keep your hand on the pulse.
Examples of customer-oriented businesses
OK, now, that's enough theory. Let's take a look at some real-life examples. We took four different companies from completely different spheres like beauty, logistics, hotel industry, and television to show that our advice can be implemented in every field.
If you are asking what does customer service-oriented means, ask Sephora. Like many other stores on the market, they sell luxury beauty products, but they have still been leaders in it, for the last 10 years. Their secret, of course, is in their customer-oriented definition. Online stores provide a unique opportunity to try on the make-up and discuss the products with a community of loyal fans, and brick-and-mortar shops always have the latest novelties to offer.
DHL is one of the world’s global logistics and delivery leaders. But how do they become not just an average post service, but a reliable friend? Customer orientation is a definition of their working process. First of all, DHL prioritizes its employees. That is why they’ve created a Certified International Specialist (CIS) Program, which invites their workers to participate in special training to increase the quality of shipping and service. Evidently, the results have shown an incredibly high customer and employee loyalty.
Hilton is one of the biggest hotel chains in hospitality, which showed to the whole hospitality world what customer orientation is. Their success story also begins from relying on and investing in their workers, and they didn’t lose. The launching of Hilton University became a turning point in employee training. Hilton made an e-learning platform that enlarged the educational opportunities for every working person in the hotel in each country, where the Hiltons are based. As a result, the accessibility of the program had a direct positive impact on customer service and general performance.
Back in 2011, Netflix was considered to be a dead company, but already in 2013, they were among the market leaders. How did that happen? They reinvented customer service-oriented meaning for themselves. Netflix’s lifebuoy turned out to generate a typical customer survey that asked users’ feedback on the quality of their experience. Luckily for them and us, they realized the mistakes and behaved as a tremendous customer-oriented example.
Head of Customer care department
Being a Leader of Customer Support I produce posts covering various aspects of Customer Service and ways to perfect it.
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