A review of the evidence finds that half – a – dozen variables are routinely evident in customer responsive cultures.
First is the type of employees themselves. Successful service-oriented organizations hire employees who are outgoing and friendly. Second is low formalization. Service employees need to have the freedom to meet changing customer service requirements. Rigid rules procedures and regulations make this difficult. Third is an extension of low formalization – it’s the widespread use of empowerment. Empowered employees have the decision or discretion or do what’s necessary to please the customer. Fourth is good listening skill. Employees in customer responsive cultures have the availability to listen to and understand message sent by the customer. Fifth is role clarity. Service employees act as boundary spanners between the organizational and its customers. They have to be familiar with the demands of both their employer and the customer. This can create considerable role ambiguity and conflict, which reduces employees’ job satisfaction and can hinder employee service performance. Successful customer responsive cultures reduce employee uncertainty about the best ways to perform their jobs and the importance of jobs and the importance of job activities. Finally customer-responsive cultures have employees who exhibit organizational citizenship behavior. They are conscientious in their desire to please the customer. And they are willing to take the initiatives even when it is their normal job requirements to satisfy a customer’s needs.
In summary, customer responsive cultures hire service oriented employees with good listening skills and the willingness to go beyond the constraints of the job description to do what’s necessary to please the customer. It then clarifies their roles, frees them up or meet changing customer needs by minimizing rules and regulations and provides them with a wide range of decision discretion to do their job as they see fit.
Based on the previously identified characteristics we can suggest a number of actions that management can take if it wants to make its culture more customer-responsive. These actions are designed to create employees with the competence, ability and willingness to solve customers’ problems as they arise.
Selection: The place to start in building a customer responsive culture is hiring service contact people with the personality and attitudes consistent with a high service orientation. Southwest-Air is a shining example of a company that has focused its hiring process on selecting out job candidates whose personalities aren’t people friendly. Job applicants go through an extensive interview process at Southwest in which company employees and executives carefully assess whether candidates have the outgoing and fun loving personality that it wants in all its employees.
Students show that friendliness, enthusiasm and attentiveness in service employees positively affect customers perceptions of service quality .So managers should look for these qualities in applicants. In addition job candidates should be screened so new hires have the patience concern about others and listening skills that are associated
Training and Socialization: Organizations that are trying to become more customers responsive do not always have the option of hiring all new employees. More typically, management is faced with the challenge of making its current employees more customers focused. In such cases, the emphasis will be on training rather than hiring. This describes the dilemma that senior executives at companies such as General Motors, Sell, J P Morgan Chase have faced in the past decade as they have attempted to move away from their product focus. The content of these training programs will vary widely but should focus on improving product knowledge, active listening, showing patience and displaying emotions.
In additional even new employees who have a customer friendly attitude may need to understand management’s expectations, so all new service contact people should be socialized into the organization’s goals an value. Lastly, even the most customer focused employees can lose direction once in a while. This should be addressed with regular training updates in which the organization’s customers focused values are restated and reinforced.