Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Empower Employees to Retain Customers

There is nothing more frustrating, when you have a complaint with a company, than to be making that complaint to someone who doesn't have any power to correct the situation.

As a customer, it is extremely frustrating to feel like you are getting no where as you try desperately to control your temper. It is also frustrating for the employee who is taking the complaint. They have to deal with an upset person while knowing that they have no real way to solve the problem.

If you manage front end staff, it would be wonderful to be able to have both the employee and the customer feeling good about that situation. It would help with both customer retention and staff  loyalty.

The key is empowering the front end staff. Don't just use them as a shield between you and an unhappy customer. Give them tools that they can use when dealing with customer complaints.

Some examples of this might be:

  • Give them authority to accept exchanges and returns on the spot.
  • Allow them to give out coupons or vouchers as peacemaking items.    
  • Have a product that they can give away. (Perhaps a new product you hope to promote)
  • Give them the power to sincerely apologize if your company or staff has made a mistake.
  • Reward your front end staff for retaining a customer who complained.
  • Be quickly available to your staff if it is something bigger than they can handle.

Basically, the employee needs to know that they can talk to the customer, admit mistakes and offer an incentive to stay without having to "talk to the manager". The employee will feel empowered and have a sense of control in the situation. The customer will feel relieved that they didn't have to fight through a horde of front end staff to reach a manager who could correct the situation. You, as a manager or owner, will be relieved that you are retaining clients and not having to deal with as many unhappy customers.

Your front end staff is there to serve your customers. Give them the power to do it properly and everyone benefits.

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