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 customer problems as they arise.
Selection: The place to start in building a customer responsive culture is to hire service contact people with the personality and attitudes consistent with a high service orientation. Southwest Airlines is a shining example of a company that has focused is hiring process on weeding out job candidates whose personalities aren’t people friendly. Job applicants go through an extensive interview process at Southwest where company employees and executives carefully assess whether a candidate has the outgoing and fun loving personality that it wants in all its employees. Companies have to hire right, and for this it was assessed to have three attitudes in employees — services attitude, a people attitude and a helpful attitude .the employees, or associates as they were called at Crossword, were assessed on amongst other parameters, the level of support they provided to each other.
Training: Organizations that are trying to become more customer responsive, don’t always have the option of hiring all new employees. More typically, management is faced with the challenge of making its current employees more customer focused. In such cases, the emphasis will be on training rather than hiring. ICICI bank has out up flexi-counters in its branches in order to speed up queues at counters. If, for instance, there were more than a certain level of people wanting to withdraw cash, the branch manager would have the flexibility of increasing the number of cash counters. However, managers soon realized that merely setting up flexi counters was not a solution. The staff has to be multi-skilled as well in order to operate flexibly between functions.
As companies like Bajaj Auto, Maruti Udyog, and Eureka Forbes move from a product focus to a service focus, the content of training programs will vary widely but should focus on improving product knowledge active listening, showing patience, and displaying emotions. Additionally, even new employees who have a customer friendly attitude may need to understand management’s expectations, which mans that all new service contact people should be socialized into the organization’s goals and values. Lastly even the most customer focused employees can lose direction every once in a while. This issue should be addressed with regular training updates in which the organization’s customer focused alu9es are restated and reinforced.
Organizing: Organizing structures need to give employees more control. The primary way to increase control is to reduce rules and regulations. Employees are better able to satisfy customers when they have some control over the service encounter. So management needs to allow employees to adjust their behavior to the changing needs and requests of customers. What customers don’t want to hear are responses such as ‘I can’t handle this’. ‘You need to talk to someone else or I’m sorry, but that’s against our company policy’.
Empowerment; Empowering employees is a necessary component of a customer responsive culture because it allows service employees to make on the spot decisions to completely satisfy customers.
Leadership: leaders convey the organization’s culture through both what they say and what they do. Effective leaders in customer responsive cultures deliver by conveying a customer focused vision and demonstrating by their continual behavior that they are committed to customer.
Evaluation: Employee performance needs to be evaluated based on such measures as how they behave or act – on criteria such as effort, commitment, teamwork, friendliness, and the ability to solve customer problems rather than simply on the measurable outcomes they believe.
Rewards: Finally, if management wants employees to give good service, it has to reward food service. It needs to provide ongoing recognition to employees who have demonstrated extraordinary effort to please customers and who have been singled out by customers for going extra mile. And it needs to make pay and promotions contingent on outstanding customer service.