The Importance of Empowerment in Customer Service Management

Empowerment involves increasing the capacity of groups or individuals to encourage choice making and to transform the already made choices into the desired outcomes and actions. It involves giving greater responsibility to everyone who works for an organization by giving them power to make decisions. In customer service management, empowerment is of great importance in ensuring that the needs of the customers are being satisfied (Quinn and Davies, 1999, p.112).

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Empowering employees lead to organizational encouragement of entrepreneurial traits and prompts employees to make decisions, take necessary actions and foster the belief that they can take control of their own destinies. This belief brings a sense of independence and leads to self-motivation that is translated into extra efforts and greater loyalty towards the organization. Empowered employees eventually believe that they control their own success through their hard work and efforts. This in turn benefits the success of the whole organization by attracting more customers and increasing profits (Fetterman, Kaftarian and Wandersman, 1995, p.35).

Empowerment improves communication within organizations. Communicating and sharing information accomplishes several objectives that are important for satisfaction of the employee, the employer, and clients. Employees do not like feeling as though they are the last to know about the important changes within their organizations. A successful culture of communication makes the employees feel comfortable while sharing their ideas with management. This helps in improving the workplace morale as well the work process. With communication, employees become more receptive to positive coaching from the managers. Communication can be enhanced by investing in increased amounts of time communicating with employees who in turn communicate with customers and give room for feedback (Beirne, 2007, p.7).

The more employees feel their actions positively impact their organization directly, the more connected these employees feel towards their companies. This results in a reduced turnover. The process starts with the management, serving as the voice and the face of the organizations. By delegating important tasks and decisions to the staff, managers can focus less on operation and more on service improvement, strategy and business planning. This leaves the employees feel as though they are leading the company.

Empowered personnel ensure that the clients are happier. They take a more personal approach to the clients and focus on solving the problems that appear less tied to the companys policy. Clients experience an increased level of personal concern, which in turn improves customer royalty and retention. Direct financial improvements are observed when employees are empowered. Empowered employees are able to create a feeling of true customer service that yields greater customer loyalty. They take pride and ownership in their jobs since they know they can exercise independent judgment where necessary (Fetterman, Kaftarian and Wandersman 1995, p.203).

As the company goes through large and small changes, the employees response to the changes is key to maintaining morale. Allowing employees to make important decisions that affect the company even in small ways help them in dealing with those changes in a positive way. Once a culture of loyalty and employees' concern is established, changes are accepted and embraced irrespective of their magnitude. Establishing an environment where employees can freely ask questions, challenge and offer ideas helps in avoiding problems that come with the changes. Empowerment in customer service management helps in increasing the pace of change in the organization. It also increases the turbulence of the environment and the speed of competitive response by increasing the speed and flexibility of response towards the accelerating demands from customers. With the changes in organizations, empowerment helps in achieving performance by encouraging staff to take greater responsibility (Beirne, 2007, p.106).

Empowering employees improves productivity and attracts more customers. They provide great ideas on how to improve productivity and reduce cost. Employees who feel confident that their knowledge and ideas are valued, listened to and acted upon are likely to share their ideas with the employers. This benefits the employees, the clients, and the employers (Fetterman, Kaftarian and Wandersman, 1995, p.201).

Companies that have implemented employee empowerment have recorded a significant decrease in the number of lawsuits from customers and employees. An empowered workforce experience increased job satisfaction, produces high quality goods and services and fosters a better relationship with suppliers and customers. These aspects play a vital role in the reduction of lawsuits and the attorney fees.

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Employee empowerment has an effect on benefit claims in the organization. When savings in the company will apparently vary depending on the benefit packages offered to employees, most organizations record a decrease in medical and other health related claims as customer satisfaction and fulfillment arises. This saving can be used to increase supplies and improve service provision with the aim of attracting more customers (Potterfield, 1999, p.146).

A good reputation is important for any given company. This comes as a result of a definite relationship between an informed workplace and the overall performance of the organization. Companies that have empowered their employees have a good reputation which leads to more productivity and have the capability of retaining more customers. With a good reputation, the company is able to withstand competitive demand and economic pressures as a result of the overall employee contribution (Potterfield, 1999, p.82).

Empowerment increases safety among employees. Involving employees in the personal administration of their assignment empowers them to work within the limits that facilitate safety and efficiency of their jobs. Most organizations report a reduction in employees compensation claims, and this leads to lower insurance premiums. This provides considerable savings, particularly in the manufacturing industries, where frequent accidents are likely to occur. When the workers understand the financial influence of these claims, they are empowered and motivated to make the necessary changes to increase their safety and improve the customer satisfaction (Quinn and Davies, 1999, p.377).

Absenteeism is as a result of employees boredom in their job and a sentiment that what they do is not appreciated and does not play a part in the development of the organization. This is a result of lack of personal relationship linking the company to the employee. Increasing employee involvement through empowerment records a decrease in absenteeism because personal contributions to the establishment is sought after, recognized, and valued. Empowered persons are challenged to their utmost abilities and capacities, leading to intensified customer satisfaction. The cost of wasted productivity associated with absenteeism is decreased and is directly attributed to the positive effect of empowerment (Potterfield, 1999, p.55).

Empowerment acts as a motivational tool because people feel that they are contributing to improve the performance and achieving better results through their own initiative. Cross functional working in organizations and more cooperation between areas is encouraged through employee empowerment. More integration is also encouraged in their process if they are to meet the customers needs (Beirne, 2007, p.86).

Excellent managerial talent is important in all organizations. Empowering employees eliminates the need for direct supervision, which in turn improves efficiency in an organization. Managerial talent is focused more on external changes and less on internal problem solving. Empowerment also reveals the sources of managerial talents that were previously unrecognized. Circumstances in which those talents can flourish are also created. With empowerment, the staff is encouraged to put greater emphasis on lifetime development. This is facilitated by the wider availability of education and helps in maintaining old customers and the acquisition of new ones (Fetterman, Kaftarian and Wandersman, 1995).

Organizations which fail to encourage empowerment of employees in customer service management will fail to meet their aspirations and will not generate the required performance. These organizations will also suffer a continuous drain of their best staff. A team full of workers feeling in control of their destinies is more enthusiastic about their roles and passionate about achievement, which is good for any company.

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