The importance of Empowerment in Customer Service Management
This paper describes a mix of two essential elements of the company which are customer service and empowerment. These two inseparable elements contribute a lot to the productivity of the company. This paper defines the main concepts of the customer-oriented company. Empowerment has a direct influence on customer service and results in the changes of company’s development. In terms of contemporary rivalry, companies should keep balance between empowerment and customer service. A company should create an appropriate atmosphere for both customers and employees. This paper shows that empowerment is a strong management tool that regulates the activity of an organization. Customers and employees are dependent on each other. Everything that happens inside the company directly influences the level of customers’ satisfaction.
Keywords: customer service, empowerment, satisfaction, skills, management
A contemporary company puts a specific emphasis on its own organizational structure. When it comes to business, it is important to take into consideration the pivotal factors of high productivity. It is important to adjust to the terms of the changing business environment and take into account even the smallest details of the way of the company’s development. In a business process, various factors may change their significance, but customer service will always remain a fundamental element. A successful company cannot exist without paying enough attention to customers and their needs. A client becomes a center of the company, regulating the activity of the whole organization. If company acts carelessly towards its clients, it is bound to lose their allegiance and trust. Any customer is interested in achieving a high quality service without tension and stress.
Various factors determine a high quality customer service. Nevertheless, there is a factor which contributes a lot to the customer service. Empowerment is the key element in companies producing services. Organizations, providing work environments where staff can perform at their best, attract and retain the best people. Positive employee relationships generate energy and raise productivity (Fabre 2009). It creates an appropriate atmosphere for interactions between a customer and a company. It is a matter of fact that customer service is useless without empowerment. This strong management tool regulates customer service in many aspects. It defines the further activity of the company and simplifies the wok of the administration. Clients and employees form an entire part, contributing to the offer of services. It is impossible to separate these two elements if a company has an aim to increase the efficiency of its activity. Empowerment is the driving force of customer service. It is impossible to make a company appealing to customers without a harmonious system of customer service and empowerment.
In contemporary successful organization empowerment plays the role of the tool that gives more responsibility to the employees. Employees get more responsibility for interactions between the company and clients. Empowerment is the proof that administration trusts its employees and wants to give them all the necessary resources to improve their skills and climb the corporate ladder. It also defines the rate at which responsibility, autonomy, knowledge and competence development, access to information, power sharing and equity reward system translates into customer satisfaction, and determines the way employees perceive empowerment (Jonathan & Johnmark 2012). This management tool regulates the quality of the customer service department. Employees become responsible for the quality of service they bring to the customers. Empowerment of the employees gives them the necessary authority and resources in dealing with the requirements of the clients. Customers should get a quick high quality service without stress, tension and complications. Empowerment gives employees an opportunity to get involved in processes that runs in the company on different levels. It gives employees a chance to take part in the development of the company. Employees become aware of all the aspects in the process of bringing services to clients. They gain knowledge in meeting requirements of the most demanding customers. Interactions between employees and customers have a direct influence on the quality of services and company’s productivity. Clients become a regulating factor in the activity of the organization.
Organizations with the prerogative of empowerment are structured in a different way. The center of company’s priority becomes a customer. A company acts according to the needs and requirements of the customer who defines the direction of the business process. Empowerment makes employees act in various stages of business processes. Staff gets more authority to become aware of every process running in the company and becomes competent enough to answer the questions of the most demanding customer. The whole idea of empowerment is to give employees enough information and resources to meet the requirements of any customer. A customer oriented company should provide its employees at all levels with the information about customer strategy. Staff should work in a team having one aim. Employees become responsible for the results of the company’s activity.
When it comes to customer service, employees become representatives of the company. They become in charge of the impression they leave about the company after the customer gets the product. Staff creates reputation of the company and may repel or appeal numerous customers. A good reputation is gained with difficulty, but can easily be lost. Negative reviews destroy a positive reputation of the company and create unnecessary rumours, repelling a large number of clients. Customers always choose trustworthy organizations with good reviews. Company’s activity should be thoroughly developed to meet customers’ needs. Clients always come back to the companies which provide a high quality service and meet the requirements of all the customers. The secret is that a company should provide its employees with all the necessary resources to keep customers coming back.
Employees can be the source of customer’s both positive and negative experience. Employees determine the chance whether a customer will come back to get the service again. Company’s administration should develop methods creating a positive atmosphere for employees to bring them pleasure from the work they do. Satisfied employees gain interest in bringing a high quality service. It is a fact that there is a direct connection between satisfaction of both employees and customers. If a company wants to gain a large number of clients, it needs to provide its employees with empowerment. Staff is the element that defines the level of satisfaction of the customer after they have interacted with the company. A client gets pleasure from the cooperation with the company if it comforts him during the service process. Management of the company should create an appropriate atmosphere for both customers and employees. A company should not permit customers to choose another rival company for getting services.
When it comes to empowerment, staff gets more opportunities to develop its skills and move up the career ladder. Customer service requires employees to be patient, knowledgeable, attentive, persuasive, calm and polite. Employees are responsible for the creation of a comforting atmosphere for clients. They should be aware of the fact that they directly influence the activity of the company. Customers come to get a high quality service and feel valuable for cooperating with the company. In return, employees should provide clients with comfort, safety and pleasure from the process of purchase. Employees are the key element in bringing the difference to the company’s productivity. Service interactions between the company and employees should be regulated in order to bring satisfaction to customers and profit to the company.
Empowerment and customer service form a well-balanced element of a company. It is a fact that there is a mutual dependence between a client and a company. A client depends on services while a company depends on clients. These two elements are inseparable and include an intermediate stage of employees providing customer service. This is the stage which requires the use of empowerment. Services can be long-term, midterm or short-term. No matter how long the process of services takes, customers must not regret turning to the service of the company. Administration of the company should use empowerment as a source of team building. It is not enough to show respect and trust to the staff. A company should create an appropriate internal environment to make employees think about team work. A duty of the company is to motivate its employees to work together in order to bring a high quality service to customers. A competition inside of the organization leads to the discord between employees. It damages the activity of the company and distracts it from the main aim. Empowerment gives employees enough authority to solve root problems with minimum participation of administration. The top management of the company should regulate the activity of the lower management.
When it comes to empowerment, many companies are worried about the mix of roles inside of the organization. Many businessmen are concerned with the fact that empowered employees will let themselves stick into affairs relating only to administration. Managers should define the limits of employees’ authority and always regulate their activity. “Nearly every organization has embedded assumptions about roles and power. Freeing front line capacity requires frequent, diligent effort to eliminate decision processes or administrative work that gets in the way of enabling the front line to expeditiously serve customers” (DeRose & Tichy 2013).
Empowerment improves customer service because employees have enough authority to take decisions. Employees are loyal enough to take steps in solving problems without hesitation. They do not have to wait for administration to approve decisions they take. This makes customer service a fast procedure void of complications. Empowerment improves the quality of the work not only of certain employees, but of the whole organization. Employees start understanding what will benefit the company the most. They show more interest in company’s life and result in an increase of productivity. When it comes to empowerment, not every employee is able to act without approval of the administration. In this case, managers should do everything to encourage employees and motivate them to take decisions. Support is an important element in human resources management. Fabre (2009) claims that:
If frontline employees have no power to solve the root causes of their problems, they end up creating temporary fixes day after day. This wastes huge amounts of time, costing their companies significant amounts of money and reducing quality for clients.
A customer-oriented company should take into consideration all details of a balance between empowerment and customer service. A company should start the selection of personnel according to the requirements and needs of the organization. Only highly qualified employees can cope with the process of taking decisions independently. A company will increase its productivity if it takes into consideration all aspects of a highly qualified employee. It is better for a company to invest finance in the development of the company, than to loose a large sum of money because of careless personnel selection. Training is an important tool that leads to an increase of skills, when it comes to the qualification of employees. DeRose and Tichy (2013) state that:
Too often, companies reserve big budgets for senior management training while spreading funding thin for front line personnel. Similarly, too many companies are content to hire front line staff without carefully considering whether they possess the right attitude and values to represent their brand.
In conclusion, it is important to mention that in terms of contemporary business rivalry empowerment and customer service form an inseparable mix, directly influencing the productivity of the company. A success of the company depends on the ability of proficient regulation of employees. A well-balanced organization does everything to create a harmonious atmosphere for both clients and employees.
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Tschohl, J 2005, ‘The importance of empowerment’, 4Hoteliers, viewed 11 November 2013, <http://www.4hoteliers.com/features/article/766>.