Company organizational culture is debated, celebrated and, in some cases, misguided. We’ve had some really great reactions to our focus thus far on how employee engagement and internal experience influence the customer experience of any company. Organizational culture is often seen as how companies treat employees – do they provide adequate time off and flexibility? Do employees earn recognition and rewards for jobs well done? Those are definitely examples of culture, but there are ways culture directly impacts the customer experience, and yet they’re often overlooked. In our Customer Experience Investigations™, we often dig into culture in ways our clients don’t expect. They don’t often connect the dots from the simple ways employees interact with not just customers but also the larger company. Organizational culture is made up of smaller moments, too. Here are a few mistakes we see over and over.
1. Your company organizational culture makes it difficult to “make it right” for the customer.
Your customer service reps and front-line employees are not interested in being the bad guy. If you hire the right people, you will have people in those critical places who know what’s right and wrong. If the company makes a promise, then it’s the right thing to do to honor that promise. If it takes four phone transfers and a certified letter from Dubai to correct a problem, your culture is suffering along with your customer experience.
2. Your rules are based on punishment and not reward.
“I can’t do that, the boss will kill me.” This is a direct quote from a salesperson I dealt with recently. The problem was my credit card was charged twice for a single transaction. When I called to correct the problem, the salesperson explained she was not allowed to ever credit anyone because once someone else had made an error. The control freak owner now only handled credits herself. This meant that I, as the customer, had to wait for a phone call, explain the entire situation again to the owner, then wait another 48 hours to see the credit. I was not upset about the error of the double charge – it happens and it was an honest mistake. I was upset at how the process to correct this problem was punishing me as the customer because the company organizational culture was punitive. If your employees are suffering from a lack of trust, then so are your customers.
3. Customers report issues and are ignored.
If your company organizational culture does not explicitly train and empower employees to really hear customers and react appropriately, you are missing opportunities. The last time you were in a doctor’s office, did they hand you a form that looked like it was a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy (circa 1985)? Did you comment on it? “This is pretty hard to read.” The person handing you the form typically smiles and says “yeah, we know.” Or when you comment that something is difficult and get no reaction from the worker you mention it to – that’s all part of a culture that is not fully supporting a superior customer experience.
These are just a few of the many mistakes we see. What are ways you’ve observed company organizational culture hindering a great customer experience?