Chain of command is important, but it shouldn’t create problems with customer experience. If a customer is frustrated, interacting with an employee who can’t solve their problem due to their status is infuriating. There’s a solution to this problem, but it’s a solution few companies are willing to commit to: employee empowerment. Empowered employees interact differently with customers, each other, and the overall organization. There are many ways in which rank-and-file employees can be empowered, but all of them come down to trust. This is the approach Virgin America CEO David Crush takes by allowing employees to solve problems for customers on the fly. "As we always say in our company, it's better to ask forgiveness rather than permission. If you think you need to do something, do it, and we'll sort it out later," he says. However, employee empowerment isn’t simply about damage control. Empowered employees can dramatically improve customer experience by allowing workers to dictate each individual encounter, rather than forcing them to stick to a script. Allowing an employee, for example, to give a small discount to close a large sale without first having to consult the higher-ups might make the difference between a lifelong customer and a blown opportunity.
Empowered Employees Improve Customer Experience