Empower Your Employees with the Freedom to Give Outstanding Customer Service

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Are you reading this article because you already give outstanding customer service? Or are you looking to empower your customer services to delight your customers? Either way, you are clearly ready to take your service to new heights.

As our customers have found their voice and use their power to approve, criticise or question brands and manufacturers, customer service has evolved into a vital component of every organisation.

And while most businesses see the need to satisfy their customers when they reach out, too many service reps continue to respond using pre-defined scripts and answers.

In today’s world of personalisation, this is clearly not going to delight your customers, so a fresh approach is required.

Enter employee empowerment – a paradigm shift that enables customer service representatives to make decisions within defined boundaries, tailored to the customer’s best interest.

While guidelines are still important, organisations should empower their customer services to do what’s best for the customer – within agreed limits of course.

So giving employees more say in managing customer connections is good for customers, but it is also good for the company.

Organisations prioritising employee empowerment create a positive work environment, which in turn fosters customer loyalty, and leads to greater business success.

The Power of Employee Empowerment in Delivering Outstanding Customer Service

Empowered employees exhibit higher job satisfaction, engagement, and a sense of ownership in their customer interactions. They are also more likely to take ownership of these connections, proactively solving any problems, and delivering more personalised experiences. This, in turn, leads to improved customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

So what exactly is employee empowerment, you might be wondering. Well, it’s the process of granting employees the authority, autonomy, and resources to make decisions and take actions that positively impact the customer’s experience.

By trusting employees to act in the customer’s best interest and equipping them with the necessary tools and support, organisations can unlock a host of benefits.

As already mentioned, it increases job satisfaction and engagement as employees feel valued, trusted, and responsible for their work.

According to PwC “Employees who feel they can act with autonomy in their day-to-day work environment tend to have stronger job performance, higher job satisfaction and greater commitment to the organisation. Nearly half of employees would give up a 20% raise for greater control over how they work.”

Wow! That’s something to ponder in an era of dwindling job fulfillment isn’t it?

Investing in Customer Service Training and Development Opportunities

Perhaps you’re feeling slightly nervous after reading the previous section about giving your employees more freedom. Well, don’t worry; we’re not suggesting that you give them a totally free rein.

Embracing employee empowerment does not mean relinquishing all control; it means providing comprehensive training and development programs so they understand what is expected of them and within which boundaries.

These initiatives equip customer service reps and other customer-facing personnel with the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to handle diverse customer scenarios and deliver exceptional service.

And comprehensive new employee onboarding ensures that they receive proper orientation, understand their roles in delighting the customer, and are introduced to the organization’s customer-centric values and expectations right from the start.

Then ongoing training, workshops and online resources can be used to keep employees updated on new products, services, and industry trends. They also allow them to continuously enhance their knowledge and stay ahead in a rapidly evolving business landscape.

By continually investing in employee development, organizations demonstrate a commitment to their growth and empowerment, resulting in happier, more motivated and fulfilled teams.

Skill-building initiatives, such as customer service workshops, communication training, and problem-solving exercises, provide employees with practical tools and techniques to handle various customer situations. These initiatives enhance their confidence, decision-making abilities, and problem-solving skills, enabling them to deliver exceptional service and exceed customer expectations.

Another benefit of free-rein leadership, as it is known, is that this type of management style enables supervisors to give team members the freedom to complete tasks, make decisions or solve problems without interfering, unless the employees request support.

By allowing managers to provide a hands-off approach, they themselves can then spend more of their time on their big-picture tasks, thus letting team members complete their own responsibilities independently.

Of course, managers should still encourage team members to approach them with questions about their work duties or to request additional resources whenever they feel overwhelmed.

Encouraging Autonomy and Decision-Making

Regular feedback and support, including mentoring, coaching, and access to resources, further empower employees to overcome challenges and grow in their roles.

As previously mentioned, empowering employees involves granting them the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of customer interactions. When employees have the authority to resolve issues and make independent decisions, they feel trusted, valued, and motivated to provide exceptional service to each and every customer.

Delegating responsibility is an effective way to empower employees. By assigning tasks and projects that align with their skills and interests, organizations show confidence in their abilities and provide opportunities for growth and learning. This helps employees develop a sense of ownership and accountability for their work and the outcomes of their interactions with customers.

But setting clear guidelines and expectations is crucial to empower employees while maintaining consistency and alignment with the organization’s values.

They provide a framework within which employees can exercise their autonomy. These guidelines should communicate the organization’s customer-centric values, expected behaviours, and any boundaries for decision-making.

Providing regular feedback and support is also important in employee empowerment. Feedback helps employees understand their strengths, areas for improvement, and how their actions impact the customer experience. Ideally, this should be done frequently rather than waiting for the dreaded end-of-year appraisal.

As already mentioned, support can come through mentoring, coaching, or access to resources that help employees overcome challenges and grow in their roles. By providing ongoing feedback and support, organizations foster employee development and empowerment.

Recognizing and Rewarding Employee Contributions

Recognizing and rewarding employee contributions is crucial to sustaining an empowered work environment. When employees’ efforts and achievements are acknowledged, they feel valued, motivated, and empowered to continue delivering exceptional service.

There are many different types of programs that recognize employees for their performance, such as awards for employee of the month, incentives based on customer satisfaction, or recognition nominated by peers.

Such programs showcase employees who regularly display excellent customer service and contribute to a workplace of gratitude and empowerment. They become role models for their colleagues, which will further increase their confidence and self-worth.

Peer-to-peer appreciation is another effective way to recognize employee contributions. Encouraging colleagues to appreciate and acknowledge each other’s efforts fosters a positive work environment and reinforces the importance of empowered teamwork. This peer recognition also helps build a supportive culture where employees feel valued and motivated.

Career advancement opportunities play a significant role in empowering employees. Providing growth prospects, such as promotions, additional responsibilities, or cross-functional training, demonstrates that the organization recognizes and rewards exceptional performance.

By offering a clear path for professional development, organizations inspire employees to strive for excellence and further empower them to deliver outstanding customer service.

Concluding Thoughts on Giving Outstanding Customer Service

Empowering employees is a fundamental step towards delivering exceptional customer service. By investing in training and development, encouraging autonomy and decision-making, and recognising employee contributions, organisations create a positive work environment that fosters employee engagement and satisfaction.

When employees feel valued, trusted, and empowered, they become ambassadors for the organisation, going above and beyond to deliver personalised experiences that solve customers’ problems. This results in enhanced customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, which positions organisations as leaders in their industry and ultimately leads to increased success.

So are you ready to empower you customer services? I know your customers will certainly appreciate it. What do you think will be the most challenging part in doing so? And if you’re still hesitating why? Please add your comments.

Denyse Drummond-Dunn
Denyse empowers CPG Execs to accelerate growth by attracting, delighting, and retaining more customers. She delivers inspiring Customer Experience keynotes, talks, and training, and is a #1 best-selling author. Denyse created QC2™, the new CX model that produces quantum results from atomic steps. Denyse is Nestle’s former Global Head of Consumer Excellence and has >30 yrs experience. Her global consultancy, C3Centricity, has expertise in over 125 countries! Check out her website to connect and find solutions to your current challenges.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I commend you on your exceptional article! It captivated my attention and shed light on the paramount significance of empowering employees for outstanding customer service. Your emphasis on granting authority and autonomy, while establishing clear boundaries, empowers employees to become proactive problem-solvers, delivering personalized experiences that elevate customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy to unprecedented levels. Not only does this approach foster a positive work environment and heightened engagement, but it also liberates managers to concentrate on strategic initiatives. Your insights have unveiled a winning strategy that drives remarkable business success.

    Kudos on a job well done!

    Best regards,

    Michael Wichkoski

  2. Hey Michael, thanks a lot. Not only for your kind thoughts but also for putting them down as a comment. So few people do this from my experience.
    If I can be of service to you or your clients then I would be happy to help however I can.

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