Empowering Your Customer Service Employees
When a customer service employee is empowered, it means that they’re able to adjust their skillset spontaneously to get the customer’s request fulfilled.
Not all customer service employees are comfortable with doing this and get worried that the spontaneous decisions which they make are the wrong ones. It’s understandable that employees think this way although, over time, it’s important that employees acquire this skill the longer that they hold a job.
It’s your job as a manager to help your employees become empowered and have the confidence required to make these spontaneous decisions.
Giving the Customer Support Employees the Power
There is an alternate situation to employees not being confident enough to be empowered and that is employers not letting them be. Some managers can get “power hungry, ” and if a spontaneous decision needs to be made, they want the credit. This is a terrible way to run a business and customers will see it as management not trusting their employees.
It’s important that if you haven’t already done so, get your employees together and train them to be empowered.
There are many businesses out there where multiple spontaneous decisions must be made daily, and so it’s important that employees are empowered.
Another thing is that due to the fact that the majority of customer interaction isn’t in person, employees can provide a solution to the customer’s problem as quickly as possible, and ultimately be empowered.
Regular reasons why Employees are not Empowered
Regardless of whether their employee is openly accepting of empowerment, there still tends to be large numbers of employees who are uncomfortable with making these empowered decisions alone.
Below are the three main reasons why employees have this attitude.
Fear of Losing Their Job. The most obvious reason is that if an employee makes an empowered decision, they will fear that they made the wrong decision and would, therefore, put their job at risk. The safer option is not to make the empowered decision that needs to be made, and keeps their job safe.
Scared of Being Fined. Some employees fear that if they provide compensation for a customer’s mishap, the employee may have to pay for this compensation if their employee doesn’t agree that it was the right approach.
Lack of Support. Empowered decisions are seen as a big deal by employees, and so when nobody gives them a pat on the back, it can be disheartening.
How to Support Customer Service Employees Empowerment
If your business doesn’t already support customer service employee empowerment or hasn’t been actively supporting it, then below are some of the different ways to get started on an employee empowerment plan.
Get Everyone On-board. It’s important that all of your upper management staff are on-board with the plan. If they aren’t, there can be some confusion among lower level staff if those who aren’t on-board openly display their displeasure towards employee empowerment. If this is the case, a lot of customer service employees will still be on edge about making empowered decisions.
Train Your Customer Service Employees. Since the chances are that your employees won’t be aware of how to deal with a situation where employee empowerment applies, it’s important that you teach them so that they understand and feel more comfortable about it. Furthermore, by training them about it, it shows that you fully accept it and even support it.
Acknowledge Empowerment. As we said above, it can be stressful for a customer service employee to make an empowered decision. By acknowledging when an employee has made an empowered decision and guiding them, whether it be through feedback or a pat on the back, you’re helping them to gain self-esteem.