The single common denominator for wildly successful companies is a unique corporate culture that encourages employees to rise to their potential and includes customers as part of their team. The advantages of such a culture are many, but the greatest one is the inability of competitors to replicate the formula.
Employees that think and resolve issues quickly increase customer satisfaction. Creating this environment is risky if you fear mistakes, but the rewards include high morale, customer satisfaction, and profitability. The benefits far outweigh the risks.
Empowering employees has become cliché, but it remains necessary to acquire customer loyalty. People are not loyal to companies. They are loyal to the individuals that give the company its personality. This is why one store in a chain significantly outperforms the others. People drive across town to shop at that store when others are closer.
Culture trumps price, too. Wal-mart, Target, and Toys R Us have the lowest prices on toys in Asheville, but they can’t compete with The Toy Box on service and individuality. Whenever I want a unique gift for a child, I start at The Toy Box. If they don’t have the perfect item, they try to help me find it. Service like that is rare in big box stores.
Your corporate culture defines your company. Make sure that it matches your customer expectations and employee desires.