The Power of Empowerment
Written By Steve Watson
Ever been to a business and had, what you thought, was a minor complaint to share? Instead of an apology and swift resolution, you received a weary, “You’ll have to talk to my manager.” Frustrating? Yes – and not just for you (the customer), but for the employee and the manager, as well. Almost all organizations have policies and procedures in place for good reason, but sometimes businesses lose sight of the importance of employee empowerment.
Employee empowerment is the trust an organization has in its employees – all employees (front-line included), to use good judgment during service recovery opportunities with customers. In other words, when a customer issue can be quickly and easily resolved at little or no cost to the organization, employees are empowered to offer that solution rather than taking it up the ladder to their management. Without this trust, even insignificant issues can become frustrating for the customer, overwhelming for the manager on duty, and communicate a lack of confidence in the staff.
If your organization is a fan of strict policies and procedures, consider developing a new procedure focused on employee empowerment. For instance: when confronted with a customer issue that can quickly be resolved at a cost of less than $20 to the organization, front-line employees are empowered to resolve the matter without consulting management. Of course, training is key to implementing this practice, as well as tracking service recovery occurrences, and observation that good judgment is consistently being used. In the end, you’ll have higher customer satisfaction ratings, a more trusting manager, and a confident, empowered staff.
Anna Sullins is Manager of Training and Development for the Biltmore Company and the Biltmore Center for Professional Development. The Biltmore Center for Professional Development offers programs that can take your business to the next level of success. For more information or a list of programs, visit our website or call 828-225-6158