Company culture has its many benefits, but how much customers care about it is a whole other question.
It may be more important than you think, according to a recent Gallup survey of more than 109,000 customers of business-to-business companies. Customers were more interested in how a company's customer service represented the tenets of its culture--such as how the company tried to solve the problem--rather than if the company solved the problem.
More than half (54%) percent of customers who were "very satisfied" with how a company handled their problem also said that they felt "very engaged" with the company. Meanwhile, 27 percent of customers who said they were "very satisfied" with only the problem's solution reported feeling "very engaged" with the company.
Company culture can be a difficult term to define. Gallup outlined three steps businesses need to take to create a unique company culture that resonates with customers:
Thoroughly examine the organization's identity
The most successful companies frequently talk a lot about their culture--conversations with the executive team, employees and customers. Consider what's missing. CEOs should ask themselves how well the company's aspirational purpose and its actual purpose are aligned.
Stop trying to be like every other company
Allowing employees to spend 20 percent of their day working on whatever they want may work for Google, but that doesn't mean it will work for your company. "This Frankenstein approach rarely results in long-term, sustainable success," says Gallup.
Take and sustain action
Come up with a concrete plan of action that can be easily communicated , and make sure it's the office leaders who are driving the change. Ride-sharing company Lyft does this by hosting an all-hands meeting every other week--though bigger companies don't have the same luxury.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to the number of customers who responded to the survey. There were more than 109,989 respondents.