It’s unfortunate that a lack of employee empowerment is commonplace. It is difficult to get employees to make fast decisions in favour of a customer. The fear of getting fired or criticised is so great that many employees do not make decisions on the spot that favour the customer. However, without empowerment you will hardly become a service leader.
Companies spend a fortune on marketing. When you have a customer on the phone, in person or over email, why not take the effort to keep him/her happy and create positive word-of-mouth advertising? What’s the worst that could happen? An overly happy customer? If you have thousands of overly happy customers you would have more growth revenue and profit than you dreamed possible.
You cannot be a service leader without empowerment. There are too many crazy things that happen each day. The employee is on the front line. Make sure they are empowered to make fast decisions in favour of the customer. If the customer loses, your business loses.
Word-of-mouth advertising is cheaper than paid advertising and far more credible and believable. Empowered employees will help you create customer experiences your competitors will rarely achieve. Remember: good service is nice but it will not create the marketing ‘spin’ you want and need. Only outstanding service, empowerment and service recovery will elevate you to a service leader.
When your employees use empowerment, celebrate it. Provide recognition. Put it in your internal publications. Most of all, do not terminate, threaten or criticise employees for making empowered decisions as long as the customer wins. All it takes is one supervisor to scare an employee and empowerment will disappear in seconds.
Train your employees on customer service and empowerment. Most employees don’t realise how critical customers are to your organisation’s very existence. When you tell a customer “I’m sorry, but we have a policy,” it is like pouring gasoline on a fire.