What is service focus and how is it different from customer centricity?
Customer centricity is about making the customer and their journey central to the thinking of the organization. It means not only making the experience from point of sale to post sale a great one, it also means knowing your customer and making decisions based on their needs and wants. Now, lest you think I am getting ready to decry that, I am not. I believe in keeping the customer central to decision making but I think there is something else necessary before a customer-centric approach can really be effective, and that something is service focus.
What do I mean by service focus? Service focus is exactly what the words imply, making service the central behavior throughout the organization. And that doesn’t mean service just to customers, it means service to co-workers as well. Too many times I see companies who proclaim themselves customer focused or customer centric and they make everything about the customer, which is good, for the customer. However, inside the organization, there is competition with infighting and silos. Ultimately, this is a recipe for dissatisfied employees which eventually impacts customers negatively.
With a service focus on the other hand, organizations make service the central tenet of their culture. They make helping co-workers by cooperating and collaborating as important as helping customers. Managers have a servant leader frame of mind where they make listening a priority so they can best provide everything their teams need to be successful.
Service focus is simply a mindset based on helpfulness – to anyone, not just customers. With this focus, you set up a chain where making everyone successful is a norm that extends from inside the organization to the customers on the outside. With a service focus, the entire organization from top to bottom is working for everyone’s success, employees and customers alike. The goal for the entire team is to help others achieve their goals which, in turn, will help them achieve theirs.
Again, this does not mean an organization should not work to be customer centric, it just means that the most effective way of creating a great customer experience is to create a truly great and helpful experience throughout the organization that then spreads to the customer like a virus.
Focus on customers, yes! Helping them is the reason your business exists. But to be truly helpful, everyone in the organization needs to have a helpful mindset and make helpfulness a habit. This is service focus.
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