The quickest and easiest way to improve your customer service is to empower your team. Your customer service team members should never have to escalate a customer problem to a manager. If you have set up a replicable structure in all of your customer-facing areas of the business, your team will be able to handle virtually any situation.
All professional sports teams have a very detailed system or game plan that they plan, practice for and execute at game time. The coaching staff makes sure that each team member knows the purpose, the strategies, the plan and… they know their individual role in executing the plan. They practice the game plan, review video and have locker room discussions. However, when it is game time the coach can only sit on the sidelines and watch the plan unfold.
If the other team throws an ‘issue’ at them, the team must be able to work within the structure they planned for to solve the challenge. The coach cannot come out on the field and do it for them. Empower your team to be creative, work within the structure and solve the problem.
The same is true in business. Here is the recipe for having your customer service team become empowered to solve almost all customer issues:
A number of years ago, a Customer Service Call-Center in Australia for a large multi-national mobile operator, had a problem. Customers would call in on a regular basis and dispute their mobile phone invoice. Customer Care Reps would then escalate the issue to their manager. The manager would then rebate the customer. Costs where out-of-control.
An enlightened CEO then put a model similar to the 5-steps above in place and, gave each rep a monthly $200 budget to solve customer issues themselves. The results? Customer Care Reps started to engage with the customers and solve their problem. Rarely did the reps ever exceed their monthly $200 budget. Costs went down significantly. Customer Satisfaction went up. Win-win.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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