Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Amazing Business Radio: Jeff Toister

Jeff Toister Provides 3 Steps to Developing a Customer-Focused Culture

Nearly every company says that they want to have a customer-focused culture, but then why are so many companies lacking one? What are the steps that your company needs to take to be committed to becoming customer focused?

Shep Hyken speaks with Jeff Toister about his new book, The Service Culture Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service.

First Up:

Shep Hyken’s opening comments focus on how the best companies have an amazing service culture, because they have an amazing culture. Period.

For instance, Zappos has their Ten Core Principles on how to create that customer-focused culture. CEO Tony Hsieh has even been known to fire employees if they can only buy into nine of the ten principles. Tony doesn’t even particularly care if his employees like shoes, but he is adamant that all his employees fit into the culture.

The culture starts on the inside and is felt on the outside by the customer. If a company has a good customer-focused culture, there is a pretty good chance that the company has a great internal culture. The companies known for providing the best customer service are typically the best companies to work for.

Featured Interview:

Shep begins his interview by asking Jeff Toister, “Why don’t more companies have a customer-focused culture?” Toister claims the challenge is that we simply don’t know how to get there. There is so much information about how to develop a customer-focused culture. Some of it lines up, and some of the information is conflicting. With so much conflicting advice, how can you make sense of it all? To help you to get there, Jeff Toister wrote his book as a guide that anyone could pick up and follow as a step-by-step plan to develop a customer-focused culture in their organization.

When you have finally achieved the goal of creating a customer-focused culture, you will find that your employees are absolutely obsessed with service. They know what they are supposed to be doing. They’re committed. And they always seem to do the right thing.

Top Takeaways:

  • Three steps to developing your customer-focused culture:
    1. Define what your culture is going to be. Your customer service vision needs to be one sentence, that everyone can remember. It needs to focus on the customer, not that you will be “industry-leading” or will make a lot of money. It cannot be a fluffy statement that no one believes in, but it must become a way of life for everyone in the organization. Who are we on our best day? Example: In-And-Out Burger’s “Quality, Consistency, and Courtesy”
    2. Engage your employees and get them committed. Employees must fully understand what makes the organization successful, and they are committed to achieving that success. Many organizations have a difficult time having their employees give a consistent answer as to what “success” means.
    3. Align everything in your organization around that definition of success, that customer service vision. We tend to do things that create conflicts and, that make it harder for our employees to deliver outstanding customer service. For example, we focus on customer service survey scores, and reward or penalize employees accordingly. Instead, we should focus on the feedback and learn how to use it, so that we can continually improve and deliver even better customer service.


Jeff Toister helps customer service teams unlock their hidden potential. He has authored customer service training videos on and was named one of the Top 30 customer service professionals in the world by Global Gurus. He was also named one of the Top 50 Thought Leaders to Follow on Twitter by the International Customer Management Institute. Jeff holds Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification from the Association for Talent Development.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, best-selling author and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

“Alignment says I need to focus on my customer service vision, not on the score.” – Jeff Toister

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This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. How do I get executive leadership to buy into customer service?
  2. How do you create a customer service mantra?
  3. What does engaging your employees mean?
  4. What is ‘survey baiting’?
  5. What sets customer-focused organizations apart?
  6. How do I create a customer-focused culture?
  7. How do you get employees obsessed with customer service?
  8. Why do so many organizations struggle to consistently deliver amazing service?





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