When I was asked to address this question, I immediately thought of the following factors that make most organizations Customer First:
- Be honest in your dealings with customers.
- Develop an ability to walk in your Customer’s shoes or, better still, in their customers’ shoes.
- Focus on a long-term outlook with your customers.
- Be agile and responsive to their needs and take care of your employees and teams.
As we can all see, these attributes are values or an organization, a prevailing culture. If an organization’s DNA did not have these imprinted within the organization before the pandemic, their road to becoming customer focus on the onset of pandemic becomes extra challenging, not impossible, just much harder.
Even for the organizations that have the customer-first in their DNA, the pandemic requires something extra from their leadership:
The first is an extra dose of empathy
As an organization works with its customers and vendors, interacts with its employees, one never knows the state of mind someone may be in. Take a pause at the start of the phone call, zoom meeting, to inquire gently and genuinely – how they are, how their loved ones are, how their teams are. Your interactions will likely be more productive as you have become more aware of their state of mind.
The second is going out of the way to reach out
With Work from Home becoming a norm, your team members are most likely missing being close to coworkers, getting mentorship and coaching, getting help in solving an issue they are facing, using someone as a sounding board. The leadership would be better served with personal 1-on-1 reach outs. In addition, team-wide video messages, zoom based town hall meetings keep the teams engaged and energized.
The third but definitely not the last is being considerate of your employees’ family
Not all of us are blessed with multiple-room homes, high-speed wi-fi capabilities, access to privacy for our respective phone calls. Be aware of these. Offer help where possible. In addition, it never hurts to keep their families in your conversations, thoughts, and prayers.
In conclusion, being customer-first is value-based culture. Work at it. Persist. It will evolve. In the pandemic, being a customer-first organization requires us to do more of being human – empathetic, being in touch, being considerate.
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