If empowering your frontline employees and showing them how valued they are isn’t a priority, your business is likely to suffer. Frontline employees include customer service representatives, restaurant servers, delivery personnel, healthcare providers, janitors – really any employee in a service position that deals directly with customers. And because frontline employees are the face of your company to your customers, it can be easily argued that their jobs are just as important (if not more important) than those in higher management positions at the organization.
Empowering frontline employees and customer service staff is crucial to the bottom line of your business. By making these employees feel valued and providing them with better tools, your business is rewarded with higher employee satisfaction and productivity, higher sales and revenue, more satisfied customers, more transparency with customer interactions, and a more pleasant and respectful workplace. To enable your business to empower frontline employees and customer service staff, here are some things to keep in mind:
Provide Top-Notch Technology to Frontline Employees
In the digital age it’s much easier and less expensive to educate and empower customer service staff and frontline employees. According to an infographic from ShifteLearning.com, companies that invest $1,500 on training per employee can see an average of 24% more profit than companies who invest less. Also, a study of 3,100 workplaces found that a 10% increase in educational development produced an 8.6% gain in productivity. You can provide online training courses through websites such as Udemy, Lynda and Coursera for little to no cost. Also, encourage frontline employees and customer service staff to stay abreast of industry news and trends on social networks such as Qiosk.com. Personalize the training experience as much as possible, by asking employees what areas they feel they need to be educated on the most. It’s also important to make sure you are empowering frontline employees by providing digital tools on-the-job to help them work more effectively. This can include anything from tablets for restaurant servers to use for taking and sending meal orders, to advanced customer support software solutions that supports multiple channels (such as phone, live chat and virtual agents) for call center representatives.
Put More Trust in Your Frontline Employees
You will be amazed how much more motivated, engaged and satisfied your customer service staff and frontline employees will be if you give them more autonomy in making decisions with customers. Instead of holding them to strict protocols and requiring them to run every customer service decision by a manager, empower frontline employees and customer service staff by allowing them room to be creative. This will make your employees feel more valued and the customer will have their issue settled more quickly. A great example of a company that gives their employees autonomy to go above and beyond for the customer is discussed in an article from Forbes.com. Peter Shankman, a serial entrepreneur and marketing guru, “related how a maid at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel noticed he was low on toothpaste and bought him a new tube. He was so impressed that he tweeted a picture of the note she’d written. The Ritz later told him they had tracked ‘thousands of dollars’ of reservations back to his tweet.”
Empower Frontline Employees by Including Them in Decision Making
To motivate your frontline employees, you need to break down hierarchical barriers at your business and make them feel like equals. Your frontline employees are the ones that interact with your customers on a day to day basis, and there are insights they have about your customers no one else in your organization can obtain. One of the most effective methods of empowering frontline employees is to include them in decision making processes at your business. By giving them a say in company decisions that affect the customer, your frontline employees and customer service staff will feel like they are part of the bigger picture at your company, which is sure to motivate them.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.