Empowering your employees to deliver excellent customer service

Let us assume we have a great product, and we have intelligent, competent customer service representatives who want to do a great job exceeding their customer expectations. Of course there is no magic formula, but the more we empower our staff with the best tools available, the less mistakes they are going to make.

Most companies begin training customer service representatives with a training manual. Is your training manual reminiscent of the days when Catholic schools were so rigid that if you were left-handed the teachers and nuns took the pencil and placed it in your right hand instead? The problem with instruction manuals are the lack of written policies when one size doesn’t fit all. If a customer’s request is reasonable, but still out of the ordinary, the answer just isn’t there. A customer service representative can’t just decline the request because it wasn’t in the accepted policy list, nor is it always appropriate for the representative to have to keep the customer waiting while they seek out an answer from a supervisor. Decisions to be made using certain guidelines would be more appropriate, and then discussing the exceptional situations at staff meetings with role-playing and senior member feedback to empower the employees  build the experience and confidence for the next time a staff member will be asked to “step out of the box.”

If a customer’s request is unreasonable, there is still no reason for a customer service representative to deny a solution and even say they are sorry that they can’t be more helpful. Empower the employee with alternative solutions and revise procedures so that employees do not feel they must just follow blindly and will be in trouble if they deviate from standard office policy. Explain policy rationale so everyone understands. Sometimes policy manuals are out-of-date; a good time to be flexible and revise or update when situations do change.

And finally empower customer service representatives with support. It’s not practical to just provide a list of  telephone extensions and supervisors; help representatives do their jobs well by supplying them with resolutions for problems that repeatedly occur, a call list with whom problems can be discussed and resolved in an efficient manner, and a manager who is available to coach and teach in a constructive and reinforcing manner.

photo credit: Infusionsoft

One Response to “Empowering your employees to deliver excellent customer service”

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