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Empower employees

About two years ago I read the book „Delivering Happiness“ from Tony Hsieh. He claims that one success factor of his company Zappos is the freedom of customer service employees to take decisions themselves.
When I began in Technical Support we had a CEO who wanted to be in control of everything. Thus we had to ask for approval in each single case. This was good as long as I was a rookie but the micromanagement soon was frustrating me.

Did you ever ask your team what they think they would be perfectly capable to decide themselves in Customer Service? Does your Technical Support team always have to ask for approval before swapping a presumably defect product? And to be honest how much do you and your team trust the sales reps and their judgement?

I myself must admit that I sometime struggle with the latter. From personal experience I know that the sales reps being out in the field every day can feel more as a customer advocate than the customer service people sometimes do and that they don’t have the costs in focus. But I do trust the sales reps feelings about a customer’s needs and reasons and take it into consideration when taking decisions.

Wherever reasonable empower employees in customer service and sales to take action without having to ask for approval. At the same time give them clear boundaries and a set the standards that need to be met. And give them access to the knowledge they need to decide well.

I experienced that in return they will be giving their very best. And both, management and employees will have more time for the important things instead of spending it on micromanaging.

7. April 2015

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