HERE’S A THOUGHT: EMPOWER YOUR EMPLOYEES
Over time, organizations have wondered why long-time customers would take their business to the competition. I am certain questions have been asked such as: “What does the competition have that we don’t have?” “Our prices are competitive, why did our customer leave?” “Our business is in a nice part of town and has a user friendly website. To whom is our customer giving their business?”
I am going out on a limb here, but I would venture to say that if employees were empowered to make decisions on significant customer requests without conferring with management, it could reduce the rate of customer complaints and attrition. Of course, proper training is essential before employees can receive this level of authority. Employees must be coached into leadership on a daily basis. If so, they will know that management trusts them, values their input and include them as an integral part of the company.
Because the customer experience requires employees to “be on their toes” in every customer interaction, employees with effective customer service skills feel better and have a greater sense of engagement with the customer and a stronger commitment to their work. They are the ones who have the capacity to save a business relationship that is teetering on failure.
For some C-Suites, giving up control and empowering your team can be an uncomfortable experience. However, research supports the notion of empowering employees because many of your engaged employees know your customers and how they interact with your organization. For example, according to a 2013 Employee Engagement Benchmark Study by Temkin Group, 75 percent of employees in companies with strong financial results were highly or moderately engaged.
Employees have the capacity to identify potential problems faster than anyone else and they can quickly make suggestions to improve the customer experience.
Customer care training is crucial to all organizations. Even if you do not have external customers, you probably have contractors, employees, vendors or suppliers with whom you work. Every organization should provide ongoing customer training in order to remain competitive. Diversity training and coaching on standards for business conduct will prove to be assets that will allow a company to remain competitive, attract and maintain customer loyalty.