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The importance of OPACE in customer-centric employee behaviour

Written by Vivek Jaiswal | Co-founder, Customer Guru

What are the most important employee behaviours to build a customer centric organisation?

Most customer experience and customer centric leaders believe that to become truly customer centric, an organisation needs to start looking outside-in. Meaning, start with the customer always. However, building a customer centric organisation requires inculcating certain customer centric behaviours in the employees first. We call it the OPACE of customer centric employee behaviour. Here’s what it stands for:

O – ownership

One of the most important customer centric behaviour is taking ownership of getting things done. There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than when told something will be fixed and it never happening. Indeed, the ownership of resolving a customer’s issue does not rest with just the front line employees, it is the responsibility of each and every person in the organisation. It is only when everybody delivers their part, can a customer issue be resolved efficiently.

P – patience

Patience is a virtue, they say. It is one of the biggest assets when it comes to dealing with customers. No matter what, employees should never lose their cool with a customer. In our recent post Bye, Bye, Bye @Starbucks!!, Kushal writes about this particular incidence at a Starbucks outlet where the store manager lost control and started screaming at a customer. This might be an extreme case, and clearly there must be something wrong with the store manager. However, at times employees have to face rude disgruntled customers and it’s easy to lose control in such situations.  But the best way to deal with disgruntled customers is behaving patiently, apologising, and committing to resolving the issue; not blaming the customer or screaming back.

A – active listening

Employees need to look up from their scripts, computer screens, or mobile phones and listen attentively. Do no jump to conclusions or be too eager to offer a known solution without hearing out the customer. More wrong is done by offering a solution that the customer doesn’t need. Coaching employees to not run by the script, listening closely to customers’ complaints, and using common sense when dealing with difficult issues could go a long way in building a customer centric culture.

C – clear communication

Prompt and frank communication is key to building trust with customers. In the age of social media and omni channel customer relationship management, communication plays a vital role in building a customer centric organisation. It is extremely frustrating for a customer to raise a complaint and not hear from anyone for days. Such a behaviour shows that you don’t care for your customers. Ensure that employees are adept at using variety of communication channels to deal with customer concerns. Along with omni-channel marketing and sales strategy, build an omni-channel customer support strategy too.

E – empathy

Last but certainly not the least, employees should empathise with customers. Customers are human too, they are not just the medium through which your organisation makes money. Employees need to remember that they too are a customer at some point each day. Therefore, they should always think from the customers side and do what is best for them.

What other customer centric behaviours do you propagate in your organisation?

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