In business, company values are everything. They can make or break the way you operate; they can guide your strategy, and can often determine how loyal your customers are. But do you carry your company values with you at all times? And more importantly, should you?
As someone who has worked in a customer facing retail environment, I can understand the need to live and breathe company values. The front line employee, after all, is often the first thing a customer sees as they walk into a store, and possibly the last thing they see before they leave. So you dress the part, and smile, and serve the customer to the best of your ability. You are, in essence, the brand.
But when it’s harder to define who could be a potential customer, is it too much to ask employees to have this dedication to their brand values? For me, the values should be there at all times. A “customer-centric” company should mean “customer-centric” employees, regardless the nature of customer interactions.
But I’m not sure this sentiment is shared by everyone. After all, bad customer service experiences are often be attributed to employees rather than the brand itself (my colleague wrote about her own bad experiences in a previous blog). So does the blame lie with the employees themselves? Should they be trying harder to carry their employer’s values? Or should the company be trying harder to instil their values on those they employ?