5 Tips for Making Customer Service a Company-Wide Priority

By championing a customer-first mentality, you’ll create loyal customers and achieve tangible business results.

Creating a company culture that prioritizes customer service doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s worth the effort. “We live in a highly commoditized world. There are a lot of companies that offer similar things, so you have to differentiate yourself,” says David Sherrill, senior vice president, quality service manager at Regions. “Customer experience can be that differentiator. When somebody has a great experience, it triggers an emotional reaction, and that emotional reaction can engender and strengthen loyalty.”

Loyal customers tend to stay with your business longer, buy more, and refer more than the average client. Here’s how to make your customers feel valued and translate those efforts into tangible business advantages.

1. Start at the top

Customer service must be a company-wide priority, and management should make this clear. Be consistent with your message, reward a job well done, and address missteps quickly. “You have to be totally committed to it from the top down, and make it a daily priority to check in and follow up,” says Sherrill.

2. Recruit with customer service in mind

“Great customer service isn’t a one-time event. It’s an ongoing way of working,” says Lois Wies, chief administrative officer for Talent Plus, Inc. She notes that recruitment plays an integral role in creating a positive customer experience. “Hire people who truly value your clients—people who receive intrinsic satisfaction from caring for others, who naturally smile at the prospect of speaking with someone new, who love to solve problems and listen,” she advises.

3. Seek, and act on, customer feedback

This March, Regions won 28 Greenwich Excellence Awards for small business and middle market banking, based on feedback from more than 28,000 businesses. Sherrill notes that the company’s success is due in part to its strategy of letting customer input inform its customer service approach. This helps Regions focus its efforts and better coach team members.

Listening to your customer also makes it easier to hold employees accountable for their actions. By monitoring feedback and measuring employees’ performance, you’ll be able to notice individual improvements or setbacks and identify people who need additional training.

“If you want excellent customer service to be a key value in your organization, you have to recognize and reward it,” Wies says. “It’s important to recognize that clients stay and grow because you are following through with your promises. More precisely, your customer service team is living out those promises. Celebrate this with specific examples that are shared with the whole company. Reward that individual who helps you retain a client.”

4. Be transparent with your team

Explain to your employees why you’re making customer service a priority. “We tell our people that we are monitoring and measuring customer service because we want to generate customers who will stay with us, buy more, and refer. That ties into their incentive plan and ultimately affects compensation,” says Sherrill. When employees understand how and why their actions will positively affect the business and their own performance, they’ll be more likely to get on board.

5. Ask for more

You’ve taken great strides to create a customer-first company culture and a loyal customer base. Don’t be afraid to ask for more from your best clients. “You invested so much to create a great customer experience and foster these relationships. Don’t forget that these customers like you and want to do more business with you if you just ask,” says Sherrill.

Creating a company culture with a customer-service-first atmosphere takes work, but don’t be overwhelmed; small steps go a long way. Businesses often can differentiate themselves simply by calling people back, being polite, and treating customers the way they expect to be treated.


This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Information provided and statements made by employees of Regions should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation. Information provided and statements made by individuals who are not employees of Regions are the views, opinions, or positions of the individual who made the statement and do not necessarily reflect the policies, views, opinions, and positions of Regions. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented.