“Culture.” It seems it is the big corporate buzzword these days. Companies are talking about it, defining it, having workshops to improve it, mentioning it in their marketing, and using it to recruit new employees. But what about those outside your company? How does your culture impact your customers?
Some of you may now be scratching your heads wondering what your internal culture has to do with customers. However, when you think about it carefully, it makes sense, the things your people think and do without thinking—the de facto definition of culture—with those inside the confines of your workplace must certainly have an impact on what they think and do with those outside of the workplace.
Take our home environments for example. We all have cultures there. Imagine that as a parent you’ve regularly communicated the importance of being kind and showing respect and have modeled those behaviors in your day-to-day actions. Also imagine that you have rewarded your children when they demonstrate those behaviors and have punished them when they don’t. One can only reasonably assume that your children would have kindness and respect rooted in their DNA and live out those behaviors with their friends on the playground.
Things work the same in our workplace cultures. When we create environments where employees are encouraged to serve each other and build each other up, and where their leaders do likewise and model those behaviors, we can only expect that that mindset will influence how employees not only work in the office but with customers on the outside as well.
This is precisely why culture is not just a buzzword, it is potentially the most important factor in consistently and successfully negotiating stakeholder relationships. And it is these relationships that are really what your business is all about. Everything you do in business is about people because 100% of your customers, employees, and vendors are people.
So, think about this. When things get tough and start going wrong inside your business, how do your people handle it? Do they rant and rave and blame each other, or do they help each other and find solutions together? What you see is the product of your culture. And you can bet that if they do the former with each other, they do it with customers. But if you’ve created a culture of service to one another, you can bet on them doing that with customers. Isn’t that what you want? And more importantly, isn’t that what your customers want?
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