Customer Centered

It’s a different world.
With endless options in the marketplace today, customers are calling the shots. They are more informed and educated about what they want. And thanks to technology, customers can make (or break) company reputations in real-time. Companies that fail to focus their culture, strategies, and workforce training on pleasing customers will not make it in this new ‘Era of the Customer.’ And vice versa, companies that create a consistent, personalized, and convenient experience for customers will differentiate themselves and keep customers coming back for more. These successful businesses recognize that being centered on the customer is multifaceted and requires attraction, engagement, satisfaction, retention, and more. We spoke with local businesses to learn how they set themselves apart in their treatment of customers.

Mark Brock

President, Brock Insurance Agency

What is your company’s vision for customer experience?

It’s simple. Do the right thing for our customers. We are in the people-pleasing business. I want to be a part of bringing success to their company, their employees, and their families. I love this part of my business. It’s about caring. It’s not work to help my clients (and hopefully now my friends).

How do you set yourself apart in your treatment of your clients?

From our company’s inception, my father said, “The difference in insurance is the agent,” but as the insurance business has grown, we believe today that the difference is the agency. It takes a team of like-minded people to provide an experience which brings customers coming back year after year.  In today’s world, we see a number of organizations turning to technology as a support tool for customers. Technology can serve as a great resource for some areas, but when your teenager is in an accident or an employee is injured on the job, most people don’t want to rely on an app or computer. They want to talk to someone they know and trust.

How do you establish a customer-focused company culture?

We are truly a service organization that happens to handle insurance. We empower our team to go that extra mile in making sure every customer’s needs are taken care of correctly and in a timely manner.

Johnny O’Brien

Co-Owner, High Point Climbing and Fitness

How do you train your employees to meet customer needs? 

At High Point, every employee is a customer service advocate and is expected to engage with customers throughout their time at the gym. We focus on providing as many touch points as possible, and we have regular staff meetings to emphasize the importance of customer experience. Each month, we recognize employees for positive customer feedback and select an employee of the month for their commitment to customer service.

How do you collect customer feedback, and how does that inform your treatment of customers?

In today’s environment, customer feedback is in real-time through the proliferation of social media and the aggregation of data; therefore, we monitor these sites and review the posts as part of our listening to the customer. In addition, we use multiple avenues to create an easily accessible way for customers to provide feedback; we have a comment box and a place on our website for feedback, and we conduct email and phone surveys. Our management team reviews the customer responses and incorporates the findings into our monthly staff training session.

How do you establish a customer-focused strategy?

We determine customers’ unique needs and expectations in order to create a strategy to enhance their experience. For members, we strive to provide a strong sense of community and an environment to advance their climbing abilities. For the tourist market, many are first-time climbers, so we provide more instruction and support during their visit. Another customer segment is our birthday party program. This takes yet another set of customer service strategies to create a fun, memorable experience for kids and their parents.

Ani Yacoubian

Buyer, Yacoubian Tailors

What is your company’s vision for customer experience?

If the customer feels you are invested in their needs, they will come back. When you care about your customer, they care about you and will tell their friends and family about you.

How do you train your associates to meet customers’ needs?

The first thing we tell our employees to do is to listen. Then, see if you can execute and meet those needs. The best guide we can give is to set an example by how we treat our customers, and then employees will follow suit.

How do you set yourself apart in your treatment of your clients?

We don’t worry about what others are doing. We focus on treating our clients how we would like to be treated.

How do you establish a customer-focused company culture?

Our business is all about the customer. Without them, we wouldn’t have a business. We do our best to instill this in our employees by leading by example.

“We focus on treating our clients how we would
like to be treated.”



Ani Yacoubian

Dr. Marc Cromie

President, Sr. Physician, Chattanooga Allergy Clinic

What is your vision for customer experience?

Our ultimate goal is to help patients live life to the fullest. So with every visit, we want all of our patients to experience effective, compassionate, and cost-effective care. We are in the business of caring for our patients and their health, and we take a lot of pride in what we do.

How do you set yourself apart in your treatment of your clients?

We are a patient-centered practice, so everything we do is aimed at patient care. Our staff is friendly, the office is an attractive, comfortable environment, and we are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. We also offer the premier access to care with offices at eight different locations and options for extended weekday and weekend hours.

How do you collect customer feedback, and how does that inform your treatment of customers?

We believe that engaging with our patients during their visits and listening to their feedback provides us with timely and meaningful customer service information. For those patients who don’t feel comfortable providing feedback in person, we offer an online option for comments. Patient satisfaction is paramount, so we listen to feedback and take patient feedback seriously. Our training program for new staff is focused on patient care and satisfaction, and our many long-term employees help mentor new staff so we can maintain our customer-centered culture.

Bob Dollinger

Regional Director, 3H Group Hotels

What is your company’s vision for customer experience?

Our vision is that everyone leaves happy with an experience that is second to none. Not only do we want them to return, but we also want them to tell their family, friends, and coworkers.

How do you train your associates to meet customers’ needs?

We train our associates to listen to what our guests are saying both verbally and nonverbally and to anticipate and fulfill the needs of our guests before they even ask. We do this by training our associates to understand the needs of each type of traveler that stays with us, whether they are a corporate guest, a sports team, a family reunion, or a school group.

How do you collect customer feedback, and how does that inform your treatment of customers?

There are two main channels we use. The first channel is random surveys that the brands we operate send our guests after they leave. The surveys are very specific and contain targeted questions to help us understand our guests’ perception of our facility as well as the service we provided. Secondly, TripAdvisor is one of the biggest social media platforms that our guests use to give their feedback on our hotels and service. We take customer feedback seriously and scrutinize customers’ perception of our performance to see where we can improve.

“We are in the business of caring for our patients and their health. We take a lot of pride in what we do.”



Dr. Marc Cromie

Jack Sherman

Sales Center Manager, Chattanooga Coca-Cola
Bottling Co. UNITED, Inc.

How do you collect customer feedback, and how does that inform your treatment of customers?

As a management team, we conduct weekly surveys that measure execution of our service model. We also ask our customers to rate our service in their store. We then compile that data to give us an average for our level of service in the marketplace as well as a list of outlets where service needs to be improved.

How do you set yourself apart in your treatment of your clients?

We look at our clients as partners. We partner with them in the community, as well as in the marketplace. We feel that we are in the relationship business, and as business partners we strive to do what is right not only for our business, but equally as important, what is right for our customers’ businesses.

How do you establish a customer-focused strategy?

Coca-Cola United does not only sell soft drinks. We carry over 750 variations of products that span the most well-known brand in the world, Coca-Cola, to our protein drink line, Core Power by Fairlife, to our tea line Gold Peak, to Dasani and Glaceau Smartwater, and even ZICO coconut water. Our goal is to develop and sell the best brands in every category. This type of innovation is one of the many ways that we are focused on our customers’ businesses, and continue to add value to our customers.

Mark McClain

Owner, Christian Brothers Automotive

What is your company’s vision for customer experience?

Our vision is to be recognized as the best automotive repair business in our community by exceeding the customer’s expectations with the utmost commitment to integrity and
a passion for customer service.

How do you set yourself apart in your treatment of your clients?

At CBA, we acknowledge our customers as soon as they walk in. We then ask them if they would like a bottle of water or a cup of coffee. We offer a courtesy shuttle to take them back to work, school, or home. We also pick them back up when their car is ready, but we also have a beautiful lobby if they would like to wait. When ready, we pull every vehicle to the front door with a hand-written thank you note and bottle of water.

How do you establish a customer-focused company culture?

When I assembled my team, I put a lot of research into finding the right team members. I wanted to find employees that would be happy in their positions. We also take customer service training seriously – we train employees with a 50-hour-long program that focuses solely on customer experience and its benefit and value. We follow a very strict process so that
we can be consistent in our efforts to provide the best
customer service possible.

“We follow a very strict process so that we can be consistent in our efforts to provide the best customer service possible.”


Mark McClain

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