All organisations exist to serve people. Regardless whether an organisation is a hot dog stand, a government department, a tennis club, a charity, an airline or a care provider, it deserves to exist only because it provides what people need. This in turn means that a customer-focused culture has to lie at the heart of every successful organisation. Organisations that lose sight of the customer do not survive; nor do they even deserve to survive, since an organisation without customers has lost the only real reason for their existence.
How can care organisations ensure a customer-focused culture? There are just two elements of customer focus:
- staff professionalism and attitude
Customer-focused leadership simply means a universal commitment to putting the customer at the heart of delivery of the service. Good systems and capturing customer insights are important of course, but most important of all are empowered employees who can and do make the customer the priority.
Consider replacing your staff policies and procedures manual by having just 2 rules for staff:
- Put the customer first
- In difficult situations – if you can show you have put the customer first you have done the right thing.
That’s it. No more rules.
Staff professionalism and attitude comes from how staff are recruited, trained and managed. Customer focus should be at the heart of any staff performance management system and reward system. Plus, there have to be feedback mechanisms for staff to speak the truth to management, and for managers to listen and learn.
Taken together these 2 elements will build a customer-focused culture in every care provider.