Empower your employees to do more
IF YOU'RE wondering how you can dramatically enhance the customer service experience in your business while decreasing the amount of time you actually spend on customer service activities, consider that the solution might be to empower your employees to do it for you.
While having systems and procedures in place will most definitely streamline your business and increase efficiencies, the reality is that a business is a "place of varied function," which means that there are always going to be situations and circumstances that crop up outside of the parameters defined in your business training material, policies and literature. On top of that, individual employees interpret situations and guidelines differently - all of which lead to many customer questions and problems coming directly through to you or the manager of your business.
Having customer inquiries, challenges or disputes handled at a management level not only distracts these people from their key role in the business (working on the business rather than in it) but it also detracts from the customer service experience. That is, your customers have to wait longer, they often don't receive a personalised solution, and their perception of your customer service members diminishes - that is, you have created a disempowering context for your front-line team by not allowing them to make any decisions or use their initiative to help a customer.
It is important to note that more and more consumers are looking to do business with people, not businesses. They want to feel special and remembered, thought of as a person not a purchase. The bottom line is that if your customers don't feel valued and enjoy interacting with the people in your business, you'll never create the type of raving fans that every business dreams of.
So what can you do?
You can create a company culture that gives employees the free rein that they need to really go above and beyond to create a WOW customer experience - and that it is their job to do so. Employees should be given the power to think on their own feet and use their initiative to solve problems and create delight without the need to check with anyone else.