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Culture maketh the company: to ensure you're providing the best possible customer experience, first examine the culture of your organisation, says Mat Wylie.

Given the competitive marketplace in which we are operating today, how customers view an organisation has become more important than ever before. These views have a direct impact on customer acquisition and retention, which can make all the difference to a business.

If customers have a good experience, and come to value a business based on factors beyond price, they are much more likely to become, and stay, loyal.

For a company to ensure they're providing the best possible customer experience, they need to examine the culture of the organisation. It is essential that staff are trained to think and operate in a way that is based on experience, rather than service. While the distinction may seem subtle, it is important, as this is what will give the business the X-factor, and create dedicated and passionate fans.

So, how does an organisation ensure their culture will facilitate superlative customer experience from employees? Leading by example may be a cliche, but it's certainly true in this case. A culture of great customer experience comes from the top, not the bottom.

Indeed, when it comes to customer experience, the best companies are those that have a management team who are continuously working to improve the experiences of their customers across the entire business. It's easy to tell who such people are, based on how they talk to their teams; if they are regularly talking about customer experience, you know it is a focus and priority for them. If the subject rarely comes up, the opposite is likely true.

Furthermore, customer experience is something that cannot be delegated. If the CEO isn't committed to ensuring a great customer experience, for example, it is very difficult to make others believe it is important. However, if you have a management team with open minds and positive attitudes, dedicated to the constant improvement and development of customer experience, it is much more likely that this approach will become infectious, inspiring those below them to adopt similar mindsets.

It is also a mistake to think that customer experience can be a single department, existing in isolation. It has to be a company culture that is apparent across the board, in every activity and every approach it takes.

Given the importance of customer experience, it is absolutely essential that companies measure how well they are doing in this area. After all, you would never consider not tracking turnover and profit, and customer experience can have a sizeable impact on this. Knowing this, it is so surprising that many companies are flying blind when it comes to measuring their customer experience.

One clear example of improving customer experience through feedback is industrial and safety products supplier Blackwoods Protector. Through feedback received via Customer Radar technology, they found that in one particular store--which had undergone a change in management--staff friendliness and energy were both waning. Once the feedback was shared with them, there was instant improvement in this area.

Taking on board constructive criticism, they also made changes in their management style, which further increased levels of staff friendliness and energy, and, in turn, customer experience. The result? Significant increased customer retention and growth.

Customer experience is, in my opinion, the most important part of running a business. Through being aware of the issues or concerns of customers, and implementing a few key changes throughout the organisation, it is also something that can be drastically and easily improved. By doing this, companies can ensure they're retaining loyal customers, competing beyond price alone, and, ultimately, making a significantly higher profit.

Mat Wylie is CEO of Customer Radar, For more information about how you can make a difference to your customer's experience and bottom line go to
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Title Annotation:HELP DESK
Author:Wylie, Mat
Publication:NZ Business
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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