Why should you empower your customer service team when you could focus your efforts towards maximizing your reach or invest in other aspects of your organization?
According to Helplama’s customer service survey, 50% of the consumers cited ‘unskilled customer representatives’ as a reason for ending business relationships with a company.
This means it can be crucial for you to empower your customer service team if you want to retain your customers.
In this post, we will cover the following:
- What is Customer Service Empowerment?
- 7 Benefits of Empowering Customer Service Team
- 6 Effective Strategies to Empower Your Team
What is Customer Service Empowerment?
Customer Service Empowerment can be defined as the provision of tools and certain authority to the customer service team that authorizes them to provide immediate assistance to customers.
Let’s understand with an example:
Imagine that Emma is preparing for a very important presentation when her laptop’s battery runs dry. The shocking part is that her laptop is already plugged in.
She calls the helpline number, and Liam, a member of the customer service team answers her call. After providing all the details, she is put on hold while Liam tries to connect her to a technical agent who is authorized to solve her issues. After waiting for several minutes, her call gets dropped due to the absence of the technician.
Liam wants to help Emma, but he is not technically sound enough, and neither does he have the authority to make important decisions. Frustrated with the service and response, Emma decides to take her business to another company that values its customers’ plight.
This is how leading companies lose profitable customers just because they failed to empower call centers.
On the other hand, if the company had trained Liam and granted him the authority to act in case the technical team is busy or absent from work, not only would Emma be happy and impressed with such an immediate response, but she would have also shared her positive experience with others, bringing new business for the company.
So if you have understood how not empowering your customer service team can dissatisfy your customers, let’s understand how customer service empowerment can help your business.
7 Benefits of Empowerment in Customer Service
1. Improves Customer Satisfaction:
Your customers are precious. Why treat them like basketballs getting bounced from agent to agent?
Empowerment is important in organizations today because customer satisfaction is correlated with it.
Remember how Emma lost her cool when the customer support representative couldn’t help her any more than just forwarding her call to the next agent?
What customers desire is that the first person who answers their call provides immediate assistance without wasting time.
An empowered call center would be able to satisfy this desire without being shackled by authority clearances or lack of skills.
2. Encourages Customer Empathy:
Customer service is not just about providing resolution to your customer problems, but it’s also about being empathetic with customers when they are upset or dissatisfied with your product or service.
Simply put, you need to put yourself in the customers’ shoes to understand what they are going through.
Empowering your customer service team can help them be empathetic with your customers and handle customer issues with ease.
Empathy can be seen as a two-way interaction. When you make the customer feel that they are heard and empowered employees take immediate actions to solve these issues, it can induce a sense of trust and loyalty within the customers towards the organization.
3. Better Understanding of Customer Insights:
Customer service empowerment can help your team to understand customer insights and behavior better and thereby, help you improve your products and services based on your customers’ insights.
In simple words, the more empowered your customer service team is, the better they will be able to understand the customer.
Furthermore, when customers feel cared for and get exactly what they are looking for, they start trusting your organization for future interactions as well.
4. Improves Company Culture:
A company’s culture can be described as the values and ethics that form the backbone of the organization.
A company’s culture comprises emotions shared by its employees. And your employees’ emotions will always find a way to exhibit themselves.
Empowered employees generally feel satisfied and engaged which eventually gets reflected in their work, generating a sense of positivity in them and their co-workers.
Additionally, empowering your team can improve the relations between different departments as well, inducing feelings of fellowship amongst them and establishing a psychologically apt environment for everyone to work efficiently.
5. Better Efficiency:
An empowered call center means better efficiency.
Empowering your team would involve smoothing the flow of information within the various departments in your organization.
With information on the customers, readily available, your customer service team will be able to make quicker decisions and therefore increase the work efficiency of your company.
6. Improves Problem-solving Skills:
With authority, also comes responsibility.
Empowered employees feel responsible for resolving customers’ problems. And the more real-world challenges your call center employees will face, the more they will improve their problem-solving skills.
Furthermore, empowering your call center by letting them cater to the issues raised by your customers daily, also registers the procedure of tackling various problems in their minds. This will help them when they face similar challenges in the near future.
7. Increases Employee Retention:
Job satisfaction is a trending aspect of the discussion in society. People have stopped looking at jobs as just a source of income. Rather, they are trying to take up jobs that induce a sense of satisfaction.
If you empower your call center with technical skills, they will be able to solve challenging issues for people, generating a sense of pride and satisfaction within them.
Let me ask you a question: “Do you enjoy doing the same work every day, or do you like newer ventures now and then?”
I reckon you love newer ventures. Who doesn’t? Even athletes who love working out incorporate changes in their exercise routine to stay dedicated to their fitness goals.
This is similar to how your employees need empowerment so that they can practice newer and better skills, rather than polishing their efficiency in answering calls 24/7 only to forward it to another individual.
How long do you think they would stick around just for answering calls?
According to LinkedIn‘s research, Empowered employees are loyal employees:
- After three years, there’s a 47% chance of an employee sticking with a company that empowers them.
- On the other hand, at companies seen as less empowering, employees only have a 35% chance of celebrating their three-year work anniversary.
The above chart depicts how companies that empowered their team experienced higher rates of employee retention compared to those that did not.
Clearly, nobody wants to do the same job for the rest of their lives. However, it is true that your company still requires a workforce.
Empowerment brings changes in day-to-day responsibilities.
The best way to keep your employees is to engage them in challenging activities and empower them with the necessary tools to win those challenges.
After all, a challenge is no fun if you can’t win.
How to Empower Your Team?
Now let’s have a look at six effective ways to empower your customer service team:
1. Provide Employees With the Tools They Need:
The best means to empower your team is to provide them with the latest tools of communication to establish a fluent transaction of information. Following are some of the tools you could invest in for empowering your team:
- Telephone system
- Computer and related devices to perform detailed research on the customers and their problems
- Internal chat systems for the call center to interact with other employees and gather information to work out solutions regarding the customer’s issues
- Helpdesk software acts as a platform for customers to update grievances so that the team can work out solutions and improve customer service
- Webcams to face time with customers creating stronger bonds
2. Implement Proper Training Programs:
Even though it’s true that your customer service team does not require as much intel on your products as your marketing department needs; however, if you train them with at least the basic specs of your product and simple troubleshooting methods, they can work solutions for your customer without waiting to connect with a technical expert.
According to Max Freedman, a Business News Daily contributing writer; incorporating training programs to empower your team will have the following benefits:
- Strengthen your employees’ job-specific skills and increase professional development
- Enhance morale and increase employee retention
3. Improve Employee Engagement:
While training programs empower your team, engaging your employees and keeping them interested in their work can also help.
Involve them in challenging situations. You can also keep your employees motivated by setting up goals and milestones for them to achieve.
Hold individual sessions with your employees and give them feedback on their work and accomplishments. This will help them realize their individual growth as well as highlight areas where they need to put in more effort.
4. Give Decision-making Authority and Trust
When you trust your employees and let them make important decisions, they feel valued.
Your customer service team engages in direct conversations with the customer and thus, knows what they actually need. Give them the authority to make important decisions, based on their interpretation of the customer’s requirement.
Remember the last time your boss acknowledged your experience and skill-set and let you make an important decision regarding the company? When someone displays such strong emotions of trust, you automatically feel like putting your best foot forward.
5. Create Empowerment Culture (Empowerment as a Policy):
The best way to bring about a change, especially when you hold a position of power, is by making new policies. The best example is the government of every democracy on the planet. They make amendments in law and people follow them.
Similarly, include Empowerment as a company policy and ensure that there is a sufficient level of transparency amongst the different departments of your company.
This way your customer service team will be able to access information easily and can also communicate with different departments to formulate the best solution to your customers’ issues.
6. Invest in Your Frontline:
Invest in programs and tools (mentioned earlier) to empower your customer care. Personal development can be a costly affair, but statistics prove that the overall turnover would be dramatically in favor of your company’s success.
The Harvard Business Review Analytics Services have performed thorough research to determine how investing in your company’s frontline can improve your overall turnover:
- Only 20% of companies have invested in their frontline; however, it was these companies that were labeled as ‘Leaders’ based on a survey of their performance data.
- These leaders have shown a significant boost in their revenue generation. Around 16% of the leaders experienced about 30% growth.
- About 43% of organizations were labeled as ‘laggards’ due to their failure in investing and empowering their workforce with the tools required in the current business practices.
- 72% of the leaders proclaim that the company productivity has experienced at least a moderate boost ever since they empowered their frontline.
- 69% of the leaders claim that they have increased customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
- 67% of the leaders said that they have witnessed a drastic improvement in the quality of products and services.
So now, you must be convinced to incorporate customer service empowerment in your organization. It seems like a necessity if you want to satisfy and retain your customers.
In today’s intensively competitive world, where time is the costliest currency, how long do you think your customers will wait for your call center to connect them to a technician?
All of us have had a fair amount of ‘cursing under our breath’ experiences when our calls have been put on hold for several minutes that eventually get dropped.
If you really care for your customers, it is paramount that your company maintains an adept Customer Service Team that is equipped with strong technical knowledge and great interpersonal skills for providing instant solutions to worried souls.
If you empower your customer care, you will witness a boost in your reach amongst the masses. This expansion would also cut down your expenses on advertisements because your customers would do it for you by word of mouth.