The backbone of great service is empowerment. My definition is for any employee to make a fast empowered decision on the spot in favor of the customer. No asking for approvals. No delays. No moving the request up the chain of command.
I think most CEO’s believe their employees are empowered, The description of empowerment for most companies is the following: You are empowered to take care of the customer as long is it fits into the rules and policies we have. This is NOT empowerment.
Empowerment is by far is the hardest skill to get employees to use. I have always said it takes 2 miracles at one time to get an employees to spend $20 of your money.
There are 4 reasons why an employee is reluctant to use empowerment
- They know they will be fired
- They believe they will be forced to pay for what they gave away
- Many managers do not like empowerment because they feel they are not needed. They lose their power
- No one likes to be screamed at or put down. Rarely is an employee recognized for making a fast empowered decision in favor of the customer
Ritz-Carlton famously empowers its employees to spend up to $2,000 to make a customer happy, and you’ll likely never find a Starbucks barista whoo’s not empowered to give you a free drink or coupon if you have a service issue.
Front line employees are the most powerful when it comes to empowerment. What they do is magic. As the request moves up the chain of command the final decision has less value. Most customers are not willing to push. My wife would never push a problem up the ladder. She will just never tell you and for sure will not come back. On the other hand I am very assertive and will push until I get what I want or expect.
Most empowered decisions are under $50 and I think the vast majority under $25. Not enough companies and employees understand the power of word of mouth advertising. Your single goal each day is to have over happy customers. This way you have them for life. They are resistant to advertising by your competitors. You want them to fall in love with you and your organization.
I love Amazon. I prefer to call them when I have a problem. I have never had anyone at Amazon tell me “no”. Their employees are all over the world. All of them are awesome. Amazon increased sales $55 billion last year. You rarely see them advertise. They focus on repeat business. Word of mouth advertising. They love their customers. Is it any wonder why so many retailers in the US are going bankrupt. Customers prefer speed, price and great service. Master these skills so you become another Amazon.
How can you get employees to make empowered decisions? Here’s a couple that I recommend:
1. Train everyone on empowerment. There are no schools in the world that will teach this skill. It is up to your firm. Visit https://www.customer-service.com/shop/programs-for-employees/empowering-employees/
This is an easy program to teach. Great material. On this web site you can view the video, leader guide, participant kit. The English and Spanish brochure is also here https://sqi.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/EMPOWERMENTBrochure.pdf
Empowerment: A Way of Life is implemented in 2 sessions spaced a week apart of 2-4 hours each. The videos are available on a flash drive or DVD’s. If you want to try the Introductory Special use this code for $300 off. October $300
2. Recognition. You must make a celebration out of each time you hear or see an employee making an empowered decision. The more wild the empowered decision the more you want to make a bigger deal out of it. Other employees will see the employee was not fired and got lots of recognition.
With an empowered workforce, your organization can reap the benefits experienced by Google, Ritz Carlton, Apple and Amazon.
Empowered employees have the power to make decisions without a supervisor. They are entitled to go off script, bend the rules, do what they see fit if they believe it is the right thing to do for the customer.
Empowered employees take pride and ownership in their jobs when they know that they can exercise independent judgment when necessary.