Your Customer Experience Reflects Your Core Values
Your core values may be the reason a customer decides to do business with you. Your core values may also be the reason that your employees enjoy working at your company and are motivated and committed to doing their best work.
What are the words that your customers use to describe you? Are they the same words you would use to describe yourself? If so, you’re in alignment and how your customers perceive your business is your core values.
In some cases, these words can be, if they aren’t already, some of the core values of your organization. These are the values that you want to be known for by both your employees and your customers.
Core Values are More Than Just Words
Core values are what the company stands for. They can be expressed in sentences or just simple words. Some words that come to mind include friendly, honest, passionate, helpful, fun and many, many more.
While these are simple words that we most likely would use to describe ourselves and our companies, are they engrained in the culture of our company? Are our employees acutely aware of them? Do we refer to them on a regular basis?
These words need to be more than adjectives that simply describe our people or our company. They must be the committed values of your company, and everyone who works for the company. Core values words can’t be just a theme of the month. They must be as permanent as your vision or your mission statement.
Hire to Your Core Values
Tony Hsieh is the bestselling author of Delivering Happiness. He’s also the founder and leader of one of my all-time favorite companies, Zappos.com, the online retailer that sells shoes. Zappos.com is known for their customer service, but they are also one of the best role models on how to run a customer centric organization.
In his book, Hsieh talks about the core values that he hires for. The values include a passion for service, total transparency, a willingness to embrace and drive change, a positive team and family spirit, fun and a little weirdness, and a few others.
These core values impact the experience the customer receives and they help to define the personality and attitude that Zappos.com tries to hire. Zappos.com doesn’t care about your race, religion, color, hair, tattoos, piercings or height.
Zappos only care that your personality and values match theirs. If they do, you’re on the team. If not, you’re not.
Create Your Own Core Values
Your call to action is to create your own clearly defined core values, if you don’t already have them. These are the values that you will hire and fire for.
This can’t be done in one meeting. It will take time, but it’s worth doing. Include people from different parts of your company in the conversation, this helps with the “buy in.”
Publish Your Core Values
If you already have clearly defined core values, do your employees really know what they are? If not, start to communicate them on a regular basis.
Write about them in your company newsletter or have an event to celebrate these values. Get people thinking, even talking about them. Most important, get people living them!