Here are seven signs that you're running (or working for) a truly customer-centric company:
1) The CEO or owner talks constantly about customers and their experience. He/she talks about it so much that it would be annoying to the employees if they didn't feel as passionate about the customers as their boss does.
2) Managers often quote the CEO or owner. A few employees might think the manager is just trying to act important, but the manager knows that every level of leadership must articulate this focus on customers and their experience.
3) Employees routinely seek out opportunities to exceed a customer's expectation. You're a great retailer if employees see an opportunity and go for it. Yours is an extraordinary company when employees attempt to create those opportunities.
4) Employees automatically apologize if the customer has a less than stellar experience. Most retailers only apologize if something was the company's fault, but customer-centric companies are always sorry if their customer's experience is short of their expectations.
5) The staff knows and executes the service standards that are key to the company's success. These store standards aren't just bullet points on a framed document in the backroom. They are the foundation of every employee's day. Everything else an employee does is secondary.
6) It's a challenging work environment. Maintaining an intense focus on the customer and exceeding their expectations is a lot of hard work, and there are people who have no desire to either work that hard or to serve others. While the dropout rate shouldn't be in the Navy Seal range of 70-80%, if some people aren't leaving you're either doing a great job hiring or your expectations aren't high enough.
7) It's a rewarding place to work. I really like Tuesday's Daily Retail Quote from William James, "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." I'm sure some people question how working retail can make a difference. Well, it doesn't if you're only focused on the tasks or products, but when your customer is your priority you can't help but make a difference. You can uplift your customer's experience, share information that will benefit him/her, or participate in a charitable event. Simply being a positive, helpful person makes a difference. There are so many ways we can make a difference, but it starts with people.
So let me ask, how customer-centric are you and your company?