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How to Build a Business with a Customer Experience Focus

Some of the world’s greatest brands decided to start with their customer experience first and work backwards. Apple, Southwest, Amazon and Zappos all decided that they were going build their businesses with this strategic focus to drive their growth. I believe that any debate over their decision would be short lived as they have all reaped financial benefits operating behind this strategy.

When I speak with an entrepreneur that is starting his or her business, naturally I ask, “What is your customer experience plan?” Sometimes, I hear great answers and strategies. While other times I catch the entrepreneur off guard who may have no formal plan.

It’s not to say that if you don’t begin with this philosophy that all hope is lost. I have witnessed many companies that began with other core values and later implemented a stronger focus on customer experience have promising results. However, it’s much easier to begin with a customer experience focus rather than change course of action later in your business life.

Here are the three steps to implement from the beginning of your business:

1. Set your vision

No initiative is complete without your vision. As the leader of your organization, you must make your vision clear to your team and publicize it. What will it look like? What will it feel like? How will it operate?  You want to speak about it so often that you begin to sound like a broken record.

Tip: Frame it. Print your vision and frame it within your office. Another unique way to remind your employees to why they are there, to service your customers, is to put customer service related quotes on their screen saver or put decals up on the walls.

2. Hiring

Without employees that have bought into your vision, your initiative will not exceed your expectations. You need to have team members that are genuinely passionate about serving your customers. While this is a “no-brainer” the difficult part of this step is finding and interviewing the right people.

Tip: Have your interview with the candidate be heavily weighted on customer service to assess their current knowledge on what customer service really means. Create a questionnaire that they can fill out to determine their “service aptitude.”  Pass on candidates that don’t have this focus.

3. Train and Educate

Do your current employees know what customer service really is and what’s the ROI? Is your customer service training a program that only highlights the “do’s and don’ts of customer service”? Or, is it high level that outlines the “why” of customer service that educates on ROI, customer centricity, organic growth, customer loyalty etc. Ensure that everyone is aware that any decision or action that is taken should have the customers best interest in mind.

Tip: Ask you current employees if they know what customer centricity, organic growth and what the ROI of customer experience is. This will tell you if you have an exceptional training program. If they are left scratching their heads, you may need to address the way your training is being conducted.

I am passionate about customer experience because I believe in growing businesses organically and it’s very cost effective. The three steps I listed above have minimal costs to implement and can have the positive financial effects that Apple, Southwest, Amazon and Zappos have experienced.

If this strategy and focus worked well for these well known, respected brands it can work for you. Did I miss anything? Comment below if you feel that other steps are required.

This post originally appeared on Michel Falcon's blog.

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