Culture is how an organization operates whether you chalk it up to customs, attitudes, or etiquette. It's difficult to define because every business has a culture, but how effectively does it serve a company, and if we want to transform our culture can we really do it? I doubt there's a customer service story about successful culture that does not include the examples of Zappos or the Ritz Carlton, but don't we all want our own unique successful culture?
First, we must identify how we want to transform our business culture? Do we want to deliver a better or different product? Other choices might include customer service, redesign of the work place, or an enlightenment of a stale, outdated company presence. It's my opinion that all elements help to mold a company, and it starts from the top executive office and works its way down through every crevice of an organization.
Let us begin with hiring employees. It's not always about their qualifications or education. With a defined culture, an employer can ask the right questions and look for a team player with enthusiasm, creativity, and imagination. There are a lot of qualified candidates out there, but does your company culture seek out ideas, suggestions, and that certain spark? We invent ourselves with words and images; why not bring innovation to a company's team through new ideas?
The atmosphere of an organization has a direct correlation to the attitude of the employees. I visited a very busy bridal boutique, and in the office, designers were excited, having fun and working together at what seemed a furious rate preparing for a bridal show within the next few days. That enthusiasm most definitely carries over to clients, and happy employees can make "electric" happen.
Some business owners are afraid to empower employees with the authority to make customer service decisions not necessarily in the handbook, but employees who want to come to work, who have trust in their employers and through the goodwill of their employers feel secure and content in their careers, are unlikely to disappoint their bosses with giving "away the farm." Good employees make intelligent decisions, and through their loyalty use their discretionary authority and funds to enrich the organization's culture. It's an absolute necessity that employees are provided with these same tools to promote their company culture.
So how do you know if your company culture is working and people are focusing more on your business than the one of your competition? With the emphasis on social media, it's perhaps even more important that customers feel as if they count. Just a random testimonial of a very uptight bride to be, and her Facebook and Twitter comment about the bridal shop ordering lunch for her and her mom when they were busily planning a very last-minute wedding, brought a surprising number of kudos for the shop especially when the bride to be told everyone the shop would not hear of her paying for the lunch. And that was before the bride purchased even a garter.