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Creating a client-centric culture

Tena Koutou

Over the last few months since arriving at PF Olsen, I have spent a reasonable amount of time talking generically about what attributes and cultural norms are important to me.  One of these is creating a client centric culture through demonstration of client centric behaviours.  On a recent visit to China we were acutely reminded of what client centric culture looks like at Jingjiang Guolin Forest Company Ltd: 

  

Whilst this is a visual representation of client centric behaviour, and a humorous one for those of us who can only literally translate Chinese, I can confirm that this was only one example of many we experienced while visiting this facility, that authentically represented a client centric culture. 

Creating a client-centric culture depends on a number of factors, such as leadership behaviour, company policies, customer relationships, products and services, and most importantly, our employees.

How we approach the client experience has a major impact on our culture, and neglecting client needs creates negative experiences that can permeate our business and may ultimately affect commercial sustainability. On the other hand, placing a high value on client relationships and a positive client experience, encourages us to stay engaged and consider the consequences of any decision making processes. In a client-centric culture, everybody in our business should understand that:

  • We all play a part in the (preferably) virtuous cycle that is the client experience.

  • We all need to be cognisant of the client experience in everything we do.

  • A client centric culture does not mean the client is always right, but it does mean the client must always be treated professionally and with respect.

  • Reaching this understanding requires shifting behaviours, sometimes subtlety, to achieve the requisite culture.

In summary, a client centric culture is the type of environment I aspire to.  There are always opportunities for improvement and in some places we don’t need to make any adjustment to represent a client centric culture at all.  Anecdotally I would also like to say that Bobby Liu, our host at Jingjiang Guolin was the epitome of client centricity and would be an asset in any business.  If we had need of work done in Jingjiang, I would hire him in a heartbeat.

Bobby making tea for his boss and clients, from left Janet Jiao (PFO), Dong Zhang (JGF), Bobby Liu (JGF)