Culture is important for organizations. Not only does culture impact how the organization works internally, but it also has an effect on how a company is seen by outsiders, including customers and prospects.Therefore, building the right culture is not simply the right thing to do, it's mandatory for those organizations that want to be successful. In an interview with 1to1 Media, Jeffrey Puritt, president of TELUS International, highlighted the importance of building the right culture.
1to1 Media: Great companies are defined by great cultures. How can organizations create this great culture?
Jeffrey Puritt: Culture tends to have different meanings for different people. For me, it's values and practices in action. It's more about what one does rather than what one says that leads to culture. Leaders need to align the values of the organization with the activities of the organization.
You often hear leaders talking about culture, but then the way they operate is different [from the culture they talk about.] For example, many companies say their employees are the most important part of the organization, but then invest little or nothing in their career progression. It's interesting how often you can point to a disconnect between what is said and what is done.
1to1: Earlier this year, during Call Center Week, you said that "corporate culture is the only truly sustainable advantage in business." Why is that?
JP: Organizations can now emulate products and services so quickly that there aren't a lot of differentiation advantages. Building a culture is the only sustainable differentiator because it takes time to create. The competition can try to emulate your products, but it will be hard pressed to emulate your culture.
1to1: How will culture impact the customer experience?
JP: If you have an organization whose culture is built around caring, your staff will become ambassadors of your culture. They will treat customers in the same way they are treated. If you don't treat your employees well, don't be surprised if that negatively impacts their performance. It's imperative to have a culture built on the foundation of caring. Help them become better human beings and they will reward you with loyalty.
1to1: Culture cannot be easily developed nor can it be easily replicated? Can you share some tips for our readers?
JP: If you want to have a culture that is aligned with what you deliver to your customers, you need to [exercise this] in every facet of your business. If you want employees to deliver a great customer experience, you need to train them. For example, if you create a work environment where you trust your employees so little that they can only read from a script, you will alienate both your customers and your employees. We don't want our employees to be scripted. We encourage them to have a conversation with customers. It's important to give them the tools they need in order to help people. Part of our leadership philosophy is helping agents do the right thing.