Listening to customer feedback can be the difference between a successful business and one that never quite reaches its full potential. But with modern technology – where an email can be opened on any computer and a phone can ring anywhere – customer feedback does not have to simply come through reports from customer service managers.
More and more business owners are requiring employees from all areas of the business to pick up the phone and talk to customers, and they’re seeing the rewards of their business’ culture being plugged into customer service.
Amazon Leads the Way
Usually, companies as large as Amazon have employees siloed into their very specific departments. Advertising execs focus on advertising while fulfillment center managers focus on fulfilling orders, and so on and so forth. The only employees who ever interact directly with customers are those in customer service. Not at Amazon. Every two years, every Amazon employee must spend two days providing customer service at the help desk – even the CEO.
Amazon’s mission at launch in 1995 was to be “Earth’s most customer-centric company.” How do you keep the company’s culture focused on the customer? By putting every single employee in direct contact with customers as a matter of policy.
Online shoe retailer Zappos is renowned in the business world for its quirky core values and its intense commitment to customer service. The first tenet of the Zappos Family Core Values? Deliver WOW through service.
CEO Tony Hsieh was intent on building amazing customer service into the DNA of Zappos’ culture. It requires a commitment from the top down to highly value the employees who deliver customer service on a regular basis. Hsieh expects all employees to put a premium on customer satisfaction!
Hsieh also focuses on employee happiness. After all, why would you expect someone who is miserable at work to be able to exude passion for the company on the phone, in chat, or via email? By hiring the right people and making sure they’re invested in the company’s core values (and otherwise paying them $2,000 to quit after the first few weeks), Hsieh has made sure that delivering great customer service will always be a Zappos priority.
The Win/Win Situation
What’s the lesson small businesses can learn from these larger companies that spend so much time emphasizing customer happiness?
When customers can get in touch with anyone on your team, everyone wins.
Employees feel more connected to the product or service they’re working on when they receive feedback from the people purchasing that product or service. More importantly, the employees can take feedback directly from the customer and integrate it to make their daily work more productive and more customer-oriented. This direct feedback becomes part of your sales meetings, your marketing discussions, and your product development considerations.
Additionally, customers receive better service and support. No one knows your product or service like your employees, so why not share that wealth of knowledge and expertise with your customers? Moreover, customers are more likely to feel connected to the company if they can reach out to anyone on your team.
Find a way to let everyone on your team spend some time talking to customers. Your customers – and your team – will thank you for it.