8 Ways to Empower Frontline Staff to Improve Customer Satisfaction
Posted on June 12, 2018 by Ethan Chen
Frontline employees are some of the most important people who work for you. Your frontline staff act as spokespeople for your company and are representative of what your brand stands for. By dealing directly with customers, frontline employees have the best knowledge of what drives the best customer experience.
It’s important, therefore, that you do your best to empower frontline staff in their roles. By giving frontline employees more autonomy and freedom to make decisions regarding their specific tasks, you improve their motivation to succeed. In such a pivotal area as the frontline, highly empowered and motivated employees drive better customer interactions and increased customer loyalty. Here are eight ways you can go about empowering frontline staff in your company.
1. Give Frontline Staff a Say
Before you sit down with fellow leaders in your company to make strategic business decisions that directly affect your customers, make sure to consult frontline staff for valuable feedback. After all, frontline employees are likely to possess nuggets of knowledge that aren’t possible to ascertain from customer feedback forms, no matter how well-designed your forms are.
Always remember that the frontline staff have the most experience with customer interactions. Such employees know exactly what the main pain points are for customers, and they can suggest invaluable improvements that lead to better strategic business decisions and happier customers. Furthermore, by giving frontline staff a say in these matters, they feel the intrinsic motivation that their jobs matter and that what they do makes a real difference to the business.
2. Ask the Right Questions
There is no use in requesting feedback from frontline staff if the questions you ask of them are not about things that actually impact the business. Companies have a tendency to not ask the right questions when looking for feedback. Focus on relevant topics that are pivotal in terms of delivering an excellent customer experience in the future.
3. Communicate Results
Giving frontline staff a say and asking the right questions is a good starting point. However, it is not likely to lead to long-term empowerment if you don’t communicate the results back to employees working on the front line.
Inform employees of the precise steps you plan to take based on the feedback they’ve given. When employees see concrete examples of their suggestions being taken seriously, they will respond positively to future requests for feedback. If frontline employees feel like their ideas go into a void, never to be seen again, they will feel less inclined to improve upon future suggestions.
4. Recognize and Reward Great Frontline Work
Frontline staff are more likely to go out of their way to solve complicated customer problems and make customers happy when they know their leaders appreciate the work they do. Research suggests that 66 percent of employees would quit their jobs if they felt unappreciated.
The harsh truth is that frontline staff on the verge of quitting are not likely to go the extra mile to improve customer relations and answer customer queries. Empower your staff by recognizing and rewarding them in particular circumstances when they go the extra mile to make customers happy.
5. Take a New Recruitment Approach
To ensure your frontline staff can deliver an excellent customer experience every time, you may need to make adjustments to your recruiting process. Specifically, it’s a good idea to strongly emphasize customer service skills throughout the recruiting and selection processes.
Instead of outdated one-on-one interviews in which interviewers question potential employees, consider evaluating their customer service skills in realistic role-play scenarios. Group interviews provide another useful method for gauging customer service skills because you can judge candidates’ abilities to communicate effectively better in a group environment than in a one-on-one setting.
By hiring customer-oriented people from the beginning with intelligent recruitment and selection, you’ll already be one step ahead in terms of ensuring friendly service.
6. Invest in Your Onboarding
If onboarding your new employees consists of reading a few documents and watching a video, you are not empowering those employees to deliver maximum customer satisfaction.
Consider providing a structured training program wherein the aim is to teach new frontline employees everything they need to know to empathize with customers and meet their needs. When new frontline employees see the seriousness with which their roles are treated and the investment that has gone into ensuring they are equipped to handle their positions, these staff members will be ready from the start to take on a customer-centric approach.
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7. Focus on Purpose, Not Rules
Imposing strict rules on frontline workers is a limited leadership approach that restricts any effort to empower frontline staff. Effective management of frontline employees in contemporary businesses is about providing a common purpose of meeting customer needs and advising employees about certain criteria they can use to best deal with customers, as the situation calls for it.
Having a common purpose gives meaning to your employees’ daily work, which better translates into enhanced customer engagement. Furthermore, guiding staff on service criteria as opposed to implementing a strict rule-based approach is a better way to empower frontline staff to behave in accordance with how you want to represent your company in the real world.
8. Improve Team Communication with Technology
The wonders of modern technology mean that you can make use of services such as the Crew app to enhance team communication, empowering employees to better connect with end customers.
By using the Crew app, team members can chat and give and receive feedback, and tasks can be more efficiently managed to deliver the highest level of customer satisfaction. The Crew app does a great job in empowering frontline staff because it increases their productivity and improves team morale.
Follow these eight tips to empower your frontline staff to improve customer satisfaction. These tips can help increase customer loyalty to ensure customers will want to return to your business as a result of directly interacting with staff who go out of their way to help them.