A Customer-Centric Culture: Easy to Say, Harder to Do
You’d be hard pressed to find any business that didn’t claim to put customers at the heart of its decision making. The reality, of course, can be quite different. The truth is that creating a customer-focused culture is hard work. It demands leadership, constant reinforcement and structure.
Eventually, it does get easier. Once people become used to thinking and working in a certain way, and once they have a body of positive experiences, the doctrine that our customers’ needs drive what we do starts to take hold.
Within our infrastructure business, we’ve seen our direct customers becoming even more focused on the needs of their customers, people who rely on the road and rail networks. So to be focused on our customers’ needs we also have to be focused on the things that their customers value.
Over and above project delivery and meeting technical standards, we know we must plan and execute projects in ways that result in safer and more reliable infrastructure assets. Both during and after the works we want to ensure that people and businesses can make travel plans with confidence. And we must be accountable for the social legacy we leave behind.
To consistently achieve these objectives, we have to create the right culture. Which means everyone has to be trained to be more aware of customers’ priorities across the whole project and not just the construction part. We need to capture the right data and use it to build continuously towards customer service excellence. At all times we have to be clear about where we are with our customer service maturity model and have a clear strategy to keep moving forward.
Our project managers are instrumental. They are the ones overseeing how our teams and supply chain partners are performing day in, day out. They make sure that customer needs drive decisions across every site and on every project, and they are responsible for ensuring that our customers feel well informed and engaged. This is demonstrated in the work that is being undertaken as part of our Highways England CDF contract in Essex. Dedicated newsletters and weekly bulletins are circulated to local user groups and councils to keep them informed of the project, every step of the way. Social media and dedicated websites are also utilised to share information and keep people informed of situations and the project’s progress.
Whether it’s our direct customers or road and rail users, our aim is to ensure that everyone has a positive experience of working with Osborne and our supply partners.