Many of the most-used customer service buzzwords focus on delighting the customer, proactively providing a good experience or making a personal and emotional connection – but what about trust? How would your business’s customer experiences benefit from trusting your employees a bit more?
Holly Regan of Software Advice recently wrote an article highlighting a discussion with Carmine Gallo, who interviewed Richard Branson on his customer service tips in this May Forbes piece. The article covered Richard Branson-like ways to empower customer service representatives, with one of the key benefits of trusting your employees being a significant improvement in the overall customer experience. Even if your organization doesn’t have a formal customer service strategy, here a few tips on empowering employees that are worth integrating into your standard operating procedure for happier staff and happier customers.
Give employees the freedom to decide: This starts with hiring the right employees whose judgment calls you trust. Minimize the risk of an employee deciding to do something he or she shouldn’t do by setting clear boundaries of what can be improvised by the customer service rep, as well as what rules and procedures must not be deviated from.
Create an environment where reps work together to solve issues: Encourage your teams to consult with their fellow reps to agree on the best solution before bringing an issue to senior management. How? By role modelling this behavior, is the leadership team is demonstrating collaborative behavior it will catch-on.
Encourage staff to incorporate their personalities: Empowering customer service reps to show off their personalities in their interactions not only increases confidence of your staff by allowing them to solve issues their way – customers will like this much more than the typical customer service “robot.”
Educate all staff members on the company mission: Providing a big-picture look at what your company hopes to accomplish with excellent customer service lets reps know they are on the frontlines of executing overall company goals.
Create an open-door policy: Give your employees the direct opportunity to bring up what is working, what isn’t working and provide suggestions to senior management.
Basically, employees are much more likely to enjoy their jobs if they are trusted to be themselves and act according to their own best judgment. This is where employee engagement and customer experience intersect.
When employees enjoy their jobs and understand the experience the customer expects, great things happen. This in turn produces another desired end result: customers who really like interacting with your staff.
Every employee has a role to play in creating great customer experiences, leadership’s role is to create the right culture and environment for them to really make great things happen.