Transform Your Business towards a Customer-Centric Culture
Transform Your Business towards a Customer-Centric Culture
The success of your customer journey depends upon precisely documented expectations for your entire team. This is the only way to achieve consistency and purpose for your customers and your team.
It is important that you move your business away from the ‘silo’ effect. This is where each function within your business acts on its own, uses software that only serves their purpose, and they don’t really care about what happens in other parts of the business.
Shifting to a customer-centric culture involves more than a few memos and feedback forms. In some ways, it is like moving your entire business to a new way of thinking and operating.
These 10 steps will help you get there:
- Create your Vision statement. What is your company’s purpose or ‘why’ for being in business? If you cannot clearly articulate this, then it will be very difficult to bring your staff along on a journey if you have no idea where you are going. A clearly defined vision is the road map that guides all company behaviours and beliefs and puts a business on the path to success that outlasts people, markets, and industry swings.
- Define your mission statement/s. Ask:How are we getting there? A company without a mission is rudderless. It may occasionally be on course, but it generally fails to reach the destination. Having one without the other is like having only one oar to row with, keeping you from staying on course. These statements are the ways in which you will achieve your Vision. Your mission can also be considered a brand promise to your customers, trades, and suppliers.
- Define your Core Values. Your core values are the behaviours that your team should be always exhibiting when carrying the Mission to achieve the Vision. Your core values are the traits that people fall back on in times of stress and pressure and when ‘no one Is looking’. These core values are the characteristics that your customers will ‘see’ all the time.
- Spend time on the Customer Journey. It can be easy to focus on floor plan details rather than the customers who will be living in the rooms. Certainly, the fundamentals—such as a good product that is clean, as specified, and delivered on time—are crucial. So is the Customer Journey; the customer experience aspect of the business. You have construction documents that define specifics for design, dimensions, features, and construction techniques. Detailed plans for a strong customer relationship are also essential. A floor plan lacking detail would be differently interpreted by different trades, resulting in inconsistent product. Relying on your staff to create a happy customer without a detailed course of action will yield similar lack of clarity and poor results, including inconsistent customer satisfaction. The best practice is to have a one-page customer-experience plan that serves as a teaching tool, similar in simplicity to a sales and marketing floor plan. It should be customer-focused, conceptual, and be used by every person who interacts with the customer.
- Identify customer-centric roles and behaviours. Once the Customer Journey is in place, expectations are clear. Each team member can see exactly what his or her role is, be aware of the timing for filling those roles, and can move the customer through the homebuying experience. More importantly, once expected behaviours have been specified (such as teaching the customer about standard versus optional features), behaviours can be measured and monitored for conformance. Most of the time, customers are not disappointed with the house itself (the what), but rather with a particular process or a behavioural breakdown (the how). Staff and trade partners may have the skills and talent to boost success, but if their behaviours and values do not meet the company brand promise, you and your customers will be disappointed.
- Train the team. A well-trained, balanced team can demonstrate a superior level of quality for customers. Because of the complex business nature of home building, with its thousands of critical details, activities, and sequences, it takes very smart employees to build a house. While intelligence is important, building a great experience demands staff and a great Customer Journey too. The key is to teach each team member his or her role and behaviours using a combination of the vision, mission, core values, product and the customer experience plan.
- Measure process and staff performance. Measuring the customer feedback on your staff performance requires two critical inputs to be accurate: that from within your business—using performance metrics—and that from your customers, by using an effective system of customer feedback.
- Focus on continuous improvement. When a group of people really commits to continuously improving, great things can happen. Many home building companies identify what’s not working correctly and prevent those issues from reoccurring. The most obvious example: examining cost variances by comparing extra costs to the original budget as documented on variance purchase orders (ETSs). Operationally excellent companies have ETS/profit leakage rates of around 0.5 percent against cost. These companies are continually looking at ETSs to make sure they are building a quality home on budget and on time. The same should be true of customer satisfaction variances. Similarly, companies driven by operational excellence should also be identifying and resolving sources of customer dissatisfaction with the intent of building quality relationships, too.
- Implement culture-consistent incentives. Do you have the right mix of incentives in place to support your company Vision and Mission? To determine if a customer-satisfaction bonus program is right for your company, ask yourself if your company’s culture and processes are designed to generate a transactional event or a customer relationship. The answer to this question is important. If your culture is transactional, then a financially based incentive works just fine. However, if your company touts a great home-building experience and a meaningful customer relationship but pays its salespeople and superintendents a bonus for achieving the maximum rating, then this does not quite work.
A better approach would be to have salespeople and superintendents who achieve high customer marks recognised and celebrated by your company as Customer Care Champions. These ‘champions’ and their spouses/partners could be invited to a special awards evening or dinner to celebrate their success. If your company culture seeks a customer relationship, then a relational-type bonus is “walking the talk,” and it telegraphs a consistent message.
- Insist on consistency. When you ask employees to treat customers with honesty, respect, and courtesy, employees need to see that behaviour mirrored in the way that management treats them. Employees remember what you do far better than what you say. If you talk quality but cut corners, or if you preach courtesy but hire supervisors who are rude to employees, you’re handicapping your team’s ability to build high-quality homes, jeopardising high-quality customer relationships, and putting future referral sales at risk. You also risk losing good staff because they will eventually walk as they cannot stand to see poor behaviour tolerated by management. You may also have to let go of team members who are too caught up in your current way of doing business and “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
The 3C Mentor and Alpha Edge can help your business focus on creating a ‘customer-centric’ business. By analysing your business model through to process mapping and customer journey mapping, we can transform your business.
The whole purpose of The 3C Mentor and Alpha Edge is to help create really great businesses in the residential building industry and delivered by our unique ‘Four Pillars to Your Success’ – Business Coaching, Business Consulting, Business Resources and Construction Software.
This blog was posted by Thrive Technologies with the permission of Bruce Robb and Alpha Edge. Alpha Edge helps you become a better builder through business coaching, business consulting, business resources and by using awesome construction management software. Check them out HERE. https://www.alphaedge.com.au/