Empowered Customer Service Culture?

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Empowered Customer Service Culture?

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Managing the customer experience doesn’t work well when the restrictions are high. Often organizations claiming to focus on customer service really only have a plan for the small problems. Big problems must move up the often-unavailable organization hierarchy. Do you have an empowered customer service culture?

What limitations does your organization set? What does the front line team understand? Is the purpose clear?

Rules and Policies

It doesn’t take long to have a well-intended rule create more of a problem rather than a solution. The longer the organization has been in business or the more transactions that have occurred you’ll often find more rules. Rules are limitations, limitations that may cause the loss of a customer.

“I can’t return your merchandise for cash. I can only give you in store credit for items that aren’t marked down or shown with a 30% off tag.”

“That bolt, washer, and nut are covered under warranty. I can’t just give you another one. We’ll have to send it back to the manufacturer.”

“Sorry about your fender bender, especially on a brand new car. Certainly, we will cover it with your insurance policy but you’ll have to install used parts. It’s in your policy that way.”

Empowered Customer Service

Does your organization believe in customer service empowerment? What are the rules, policies, and procedures?

Policy on customer service actions are often set to protect the margin of the sale, the sale to your valued customer. Are your executive team rules or a lack of empowerment creating too much red tape? Are you sabotaging the customer experience?

Certainly the business has to protect its bottom line but at what cost? Small businesses (big ones too) lose customers every day because of poor or misunderstood front line decisions.

Your front line is a touch point. Any touch point with a customer represents all that your business is, and all that it does.

Protect the Customer

You’ll always need to protect the business, but you’ll also need to look out for your customers.

Train the front line well. Empower them to make reasonable adjustments, allow flexibility, and have someone immediately available to manage transactions beyond reasonable parameters. Keep in mind that internal organization dynamics set external tone.

You’ve attracted the customer and made the sale. When your brand promise is tested, be sure that it works. It may begin or end with an empowered customer service culture.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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