If companies want their customers to receive fast and one time resolution to their inquiries, it is imperative that they create an environment that fosters independence. This applies to all customer facing channels such as call centres, stores and on line web help. In all cases, employees need to have the right tools and support to make decisions that balance the best interests of their customers and the organizations they work for.
Here are five ways to create an employee centric environment that fosters effective decision making:
- Hire employees that are not afraid to make decisions. Add this skill as a requirement for any profiling tools you may be using. Also, ensure role plays are part of the interview process. Paint a scenario that mirrors what happens every day to see how your potential employee may respond. Be thorough and involve front line leaders in the process.
- Provide training that covers real life customer scenarios and ensure it is not a one time event. Many employees receive the customary three to six weeks of initial training when they join a customer service organization and are then handed off to their Supervisors. This isn't enough. Training needs to be reinforced and new skills added to employees' arsenals. There are plenty of post-classroom training initiatives that can continue to build skills including: just-in-time facilitator training, e-learning courses and use of quizzes to test retention.
- Foster a coaching culture. This is the magic bullet to ensure your empowerment strategy is effectively reinforced every day and that it is happening in real life scenarios. Coaching should be taking place daily - It doesn't always have to be planned for or a formal, documented one on one. Informal coaching can take many forms including a quick on the floor chat, job shadowing and even via e-mail. Operational circumstances will dictate what type to use - The key is to do it every day!
- Build smart processes. Eliminate complexity without putting your business at risk. Create processes that are easy to learn and follow and make them accessible. Also, employees should have the right to not follow the process if it's in the best interest of the customer and organization. These situations DO happen. No company can possibly predict every customer scenario and sometimes the existing process won't make sense. Empower your employees to ACT - Do right by your customers (within reason) and the payoff will be huge.
- Invest in technology that is easy for customers and employees to use. I've talked about key technologies before and how they can destroy a positive customer experience (IVR blog). It's no different for a company's employees. Invest in technologies that are easy for them to use and instruct (to customers). That applies to intranet and internet sites, CRM tools and Call Centre technologies such as IVRs. Develop strong training and have someone in IT readily available when help is needed.
Employee empowerment is one of the fundamental opportunities facing customer service organizations today. Regardless of company size and channel EVERYONE can benefit from an increased focus on how to more effectively empower their employees. Doing so will lift their overall engagement and that translates into a better customer experience. And a world class customer experience will improve your bottom line!
To learn more about how to build a great employee empowerment strategy, give us a shout at 647-202-7385 or email@example.com. And learn more about us at www.simplifyingservice.com.
We are Customer Service Simplified!