The Age Of The Customer: What Does Empowerment Look Like?
We’re in “The Age of the Customer”, meaning that the customer is in charge of the way brands make strategic business decisions. This balance of power is forcing companies to put their CX strategies under a microscope.
In our last blog, we listed some eye-opening statistics that really prove how important customer experience is today, including that 72% of businesses say that improving customer experience is their top priority.
In many negative customer experiences, customer care team members don’t feel empowered. Usually, the representative wants to help, but is unable to because of policies or processes that cause roadblocks to resolving customer issues. This leads to frustration for front-line teams, causing them to stop caring about their job and leaving a sour taste in the mouths of customers. But what if they were able to resolve these types of issues with a little discretion and common sense? What if they were able to go the extra mile for customers without being blocked by limitations out of their control?
Companies that empower their employees have 50% higher customer loyalty. Empowering a customer care team means encouraging and equipping them to easily find solutions to problems and truly do whatever it takes to make the customer happy.
This creates a domino effect of engaged and effective customer care team members, leading to higher retention, better customer experiences and overall cost savings.
SO, WHAT DOES EMPOWERMENT LOOK LIKE?
In order for customer care teams to be successful, they need the right tools and resources available to them.
The Right Information
It’s a game changer when customer care teams have accurate information at their fingertips. As soon as an interaction is answered, the focus needs to be on the customer. A 360° view is key for this – think of it as a pop-up crystal ball showing the customer’s past, present and future relationship with a brand. This includes interactions across all channels, order history and any previous issues that can provide context into the current one. Having access to this information allows customer care teams to make knowledgeable decisions and provide customer experiences that are personalized.
The Right Person
It’s crucial for customer care teams to confirm that they’re dealing with the right person. This involves customer verification software or tools that will provide a detailed profile of the customer’s full name, date of birth, address and financial history. In addition to having access to this information, it also helps to provide a better overall customer service experience. The sooner the customer care team can confirm a customer’s details, the sooner they can move on to resolving their actual issue.
Better Work Spaces
Gone are the days of cubicles, and building better work spaces for customer care teams should be a top priority. When employees have a creative and brand aligned environment to spend their shifts in, they will feel more empowered to provide the best customer service possible.
It’s about more than slapping paint on the wall. It means immersing the team into the brand and making them feel proud to come to work every day. Whether that’s mimicking the look of headquarters, providing product samples to try or giving out branded swag, these things instill brand passion and confidence. It helps teams feel part of the brand, creating a desire to represent it the best that they can.
This is probably the most important part of encouraging empowerment in customer care teams. By prioritizing flexibility and autonomy, they have the ability to make natural decisions based on the flow of the customer conversation. This leads to easier issue resolve without relying on, or being limited to, scripted responses.
This type of approach requires the right resources, such as searchable knowledge bases and extensive soft-skill training. Ongoing coaching also ensures metrics such as First Contact Resolution (FCR) and Average Handle Time (AHT) are achieved, while calibrating for quality and accuracy.
That’s A Wrap
Empowering your customer care teams to make autonomous decisions might sound risky, but it’s more important than ever. By slowly introducing this approach in phases, it becomes easier to keep track of additional costs and increased ROI. It also allows time to properly measure how these changes are affecting both employee and customer satisfaction.
Read our thought paper to learn more about how providing ongoing training in an empowered culture and thoughtfully recognizing teams ensures extraordinary customer experiences every single time.