A few months ago, I signed my contract at 4C. The ink was barely dry, or I was already formally introduced at the company meeting that same evening. For the occasion, the meeting was held some place other than the good old regular operating base in Mechelen. This time, the newly founded building of ING was featured as one of the highlights of the gathering.
The (possible) importance of designer chandeliers
Now, I can hear you thinking, “Why does a building that’s not even your own deserve special attention?” Agreed. What does it matter? Except that it shows the extended hospitality of one of our clients and how they treat people that care about their business.
Opening up a brand spanking new space where not only your own employees feel appreciated (hello, Playstation room!) but also where visitors can feel part of the organization, does require a great investment. Yes, your thoughts are rumbling again: “All that money spent on a bunch of pretty colours and designer chandeliers?! “ Agreed. Except for one word. If you would just replace ‘spent’ with ‘invested’, it would sound a lot more reasonable. You don’t just buy wall paint, you buy inspiring colours for your employees and visitors. You don’t just pay an interior designer, you pay a visionary to translate your company values into something material and tacit. It’s all about customer experience.
All of these things complement your vision. They don’t hold up on their own, they act as a support system of something much bigger. Creating a client-focused approach begins with creating the right mind set within your own company. For example by making your employees swoon over their workplace, you can turn them into company advocates. If they feel alive, at home, vibrant or welcome at work, they will more easily endorse you towards the rest of the world. It will make them more motivated to treat your customers the way you want them to: with respect, and all about the client.
If you give employees the feeling that the company cares about them, they will be more inclined to care about their company. And yes, you will get a step closer to becoming client-caring. Inspiring your own people to make them care to inspire other people to care about your company, that translates into something very caring and powerful. That’s a lot of care in one paragraph.
This is just one example to show you how far you can go with putting the client in the centre of attention. Customer-centricity needs to be embedded in the DNA of the company. It can creep up all the way to the back office and all the way back to the people who think they are invisible. Make them aware of their importance towards the client. Everyone in the company matters. Every cogwheel needs to be oiled up to make it spin and turn smoothly.
ING makes a nice example of not just letting a consultancy firm do a project somewhere in whatever department. They integrated different kinds of expertise into all kinds of departments within their company. They let all the little cogwheels click into each other, and on top of that made them nice and shiny with pretty colours. Here I can resume to the spend-invest discussion we had earlier. You don’t just pay a consultant’s hours, you invest in moulding your processes into something a customer will value: You.
What do you think of this? Can painting your walls (so to speak) help you make your employees more customer-centric? Or is this just a crazy consultant talking?
Disclaimer: I am in no way promoting designer chandeliers.