Empower Your Staff

If you know me, you’ve probably heard me mention how “customer service is the new marketing.” In fact, I wrote a post about it three years ago.  It was true then, it’s true today.

I want to share an experience I had that reinforces the point.

At The Real Canadian Superstore, I wanted to purchase a box of popsicles and fudgesicles.  If you bought them in groups of 2, you saved $1.50 each.  After it rang in, I noticed that they went in at full price.  I went to the customer service desk and was told that I had to by 2 of the same kind.  I explained that the signs weren’t very clear with that message.  Instead of leaving it at that and saying she couldn’t help me, she honoured the sale price.  It wasn’t about the money, it was about me leaving the store happy.

Your frontline staff, the ones that interact with your customers day after day, are your brand.  Your customers’ opinions of your staff will be the same for your brand.

Have you ever heard something like this, “I’m sorry, that’s our policy?”

An unhappy customer is no longer just that.  With tools like Facebook and Twitter, an unhappy customer is now an unhappy customer with a platform and potentially hundreds or thousands people to listen to their complaint.

There’s a trend among companies who understand the importance of customer satisfaction, of giving their frontline staff the authority to respond to customer complaints, instead of calling a supervisor in.

Whether the threshold you allow customer service staff to make decisions on is $100 or $1000 dollars, the fact they can make the decisions will make your customers happy and improve sentiment about your brand in the marketplace.

Zappos.com is an amazing example of customer service.  In fact, they’ve been often referred to as a customer service company that sells shoes.  If you’d like to improve your culture and focus on customer service within your organization, check out this slide presentation from Zappos.