Tolar Systems has established six core values that we believe make a difference in our success and that of our clients. Among these is the value of putting customers first. But, what does “putting customers first” really mean? How does it play out in our business? And what advice would we give to other companies hoping to become more customer-centric?
What Does It Really Mean to Put Customers First?
Companies that are customer-centric are said to be 60 percent more profitable than those that aren’t, so putting customers first is obviously a smart business strategy. But when we say we put customers first, what do we really mean? At Tolar Systems we define it as delivering what customers need, not what gains us most and treating customers’ business as our own.
In our dealings with clients we take the approach that our clients’ success is our success and do everything we can to help them achieve their goals. We look not only at the available technology to solve their problems, but how that technology fits into our clients’ goals and budget. We don’t suggest solutions that are “overkill” relative to what our customers need.
At Tolar Systems, we think it’s also critical to put the relationship with our client ahead of other relationships, such as those we might have with a vendor. Just because we are a Microsoft or Intuit partner doesn’t mean that Office 365 or Quickbooks are the only solutions we might propose to a client. We propose solutions that are the ones we’d choose, if we were you – not the ones that pay us the highest commission.
Our goal is to deliver “Goldilocks solutions;” ones that are just right for our customer needs. We believe in providing the right solution, at the right time and right price.
Customer First Really Means People First
Putting customers first is one of those ideas that sounds easy in theory but in practice many companies struggle to put this simple idea into action. For us, we believe that delivering on this promise means empowering our people to do the right thing on behalf of our clients, in all situations.
So, even though we value putting the “Customer first,” we can’t do that without our people. Here’s how putting people first helps us serve clients better.
Hiring the right people: We focus on hiring the right people with the right skills, and then providing the tools they need to help our clients succeed. In an ever-changing industry, technical skills can become obsolete very quickly. That’s why we don’t just hire for technical skills, we also look for people skills, including a customer-focused attitude and willingness to learn and adapt.
Listening: Our front-line and help desk team are the first to know when a client is experiencing issues, so it’s crucial to listen to them. Teaching them how to ask the right questions and listening to what they learn helps us better understand our client needs and is a crucial component of putting customers first.
Empowering: We believe in giving our employees the power to resolve issues for our clients without having to jump through excessive hoops to make it happen. That’s why we clear standards, workflows and communications tools to help them solve issues when they can – and escalate to the right people when they can’t.
Our Advice for Becoming a More Customer Centric Organization
If your organization is looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction, we have couple of pieces of advice. First, think of your business as a partner in your customers’ success. When we look at what our clients need and find ways to fill those needs, we position ourselves as true partners. This is how long-term relationships are forged.
Second, remember that your employees are the key to customer satisfaction. They are the ones talking to and interacting with your customers on a daily basis. They are either strengthening or weakening those relationships with every conversation and interaction. So, if you want to become more customer-centric, it’s crucial to ensure employees have the right attitudes, a strong voice within your organization and the tools they need to do their jobs well.
What do you think it means to put customers first? How does that play out in your business? We’d love to hear from you: contact us.