Here’s a guest post on customer service by Cayce Phalen. Cayce is a life coach specializing in personal financial and career coaching with his company World Drive Coaching. Follow Cayce on Twitter of Facebook. You can guest post as well! Read how to here.
It always surprises me how easy it is to take care of customer service issues, yet so many businesses fail to do so. We have all been in line at the store when the person in front has an item that rings up 50 cents more than what the tag says, and the store has failed to give their front line team member the authority to help the situation. So what happens? You wait five minutes while they call someone over to the register to look at the item, they go back and double check the price, and then come back to report a yay or nay. Now, one of two things occurs:
- The customer was right all along, and you give it to them for the shelf price. Not only have you given it to them for what they told you but also have made them mad and the customers behind them mad. Plus, you’ve paid two employees during this time frame.
- The customer was wrong, so you have to explain to them why they were wrong. They either take the item in frustration or they leave it (and sometimes leave everything else they were going to purchase). You have also made the customers behind them mad.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you trust everyone that comes to your establishment who is telling you a price is wrong. There is an obvious dollar limit. But in the above situation, I have personally been a witness to time and time again.
Now, let us break this down and assume both clerks get paid an hourly rate of $8. That means your cashier and clerk who is price-checking make 13 cents per minute. The example we are using is five minutes, which means you have spent 65 cents for the cashier to stand there. You have also spent 65 cents for the other clerk to go back and check the price. Bottom line is you have now spent $1.30 to save 50 cents and made a line of customers mad.
The point is this: do the math and see that it pays to give your team members the authority and the ability to take care of your customers. Not only will it help your team feel appreciated, valued and trusted, but it also will help your customers feel the same way. Serve your customers, and they will continue to serve you.
Beyond that, what are you telling your customers when your front line can’t even make a small decision like this? While the math makes sense, showing customers that you don’t care enough about them to handle their issues at the moment they have them, doesn’t. The psychology of empowering your team members translates into repeat customers.
Question: have you experienced the difference between empowered and not empowered team members?