If I walked into your place of business today and brought a complaint about a product or service to one of your front line people — whether a receptionist or someone at the front counter or desk — would they be able to fix the issue?
This is the scenario I often see:
Customer: “Excuse me, but I was charged for two items when I only asked for one. Can you take that off my bill?”
Employee: “I’m sorry, but the computer won’t let me.”
Customer: “Is there someone else who can help me?”
Employee: “Uh, hang on a second. I’ll go get my manager.”
What would happen if that employee actually had the power to meet the needs of the customer, to correct wrongs and respond promptly to any issues?
Maybe we’d never hear statements like “This coupon expired yesterday” or “You need to add $0.03 to your total to use the discount” or “You’ll have to talk to the owner” ever again.
There are plenty of companies with customer service issues, but I think it all comes down to the fact that employees aren’t given the authority to actually do anything to serve the customers.
I see this problem contrasted with an amazing restaurant I ate at recently. During my visit, I chatted with one of the managers, and I was stunned to find out that giving away three meals every day was written into his manager’s contract. So anytime a diner has any issue with their food, the manager is empowered to make that customer happy by giving their food to them for free.
Clearly, the owner of that restaurant’s desire to provide good service exceeded his fear of his manager running wild, giving away free meals to everyone.
The result? That restaurant is packed every night.
If you want to improve customer service, then you need to empower your employees by giving them the ability to meet the customer’s needs. Maybe that means you’ll comp more meals, but on the other hand, it will also mean you will sell more meals at full price.
And if you give away more complimentary coupons, that means you’ll have more people coming back. Just make sure that when your customers try to redeem them, your employee’s don’t need a manager’s help ringing them in.
Ultimately, the more you empower your employees, the happier your customers will be, and the more business will come back to you.
I promise that your brand image is worth far more than a few complimentary meals.
What do you think?
As a speaker and author, Curtis Zimmerman has impacted over one million people with his life-changing messages and award-winning programs. Curtis is an expert at transforming organizations by inspiring individuals to live their lives at performance level.
Want to be inspired? Check out his podcast The Next 24 Hours.