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Empowering Employees to be Leaders in the Customer Experience
By: Guest Author at 12:00 AM
Dealing with your customers is no longer just for those in the sales and customer service department!  Everyone in the organization needs customer service training in order to understand the needs of the people they serve and how vital it is and be an empowered leader when it comes to the customer experience.

That’s a tall order when dealing with large traditional organizations, but perhaps not quite such a difficult mindset when you are a startup or a small company that has just entered the marketplace.  You can diligently focus on customer development and profiling your customer.  This will help you answer questions like:

Who are they?
How do they shop?
How will they find you?
What will they like about you?
What can you offer them that they can't live without?

You can take the time to find out what their expectations are when it comes to buying from and interfacing with your company.

The digital tools available today, including those enabled by social media, have made listening and personally connecting with the customer much more doable.  Along with the digital tools, changing the mindset of “closeting employees” (those not in sales or customer service) away from the customer, should be a integral part of employee training.  That way, when your employees are empowered with the responsibility to respond and fix problems, they do it within the guidelines of best practices.

It takes a totally different employee mindset to embrace the empowerment of making “just in time” decisions for a customer. It takes a whole new approach to go beyond, “I‘ll have to ask my supervisor, who is away on vacation”, or requesting approval from management which takes two weeks to get a “tweet” that hopefully handles a customer crisis.

It’s not just the employees of the corporate structure who need to shift gears into the customer experience; it’s the leaders of the organizations who make the decisions to put their employees in a position to engage. Leadership has to see this as a viable option and feel comfortable with empowered employees.  They have to have confidence that people have been properly trained to handle a crisis.  There also has to be a system in place for a fast, immediate response from corporate or legal in the event it is needed.

Changing gears, stepping out of the comfort zone, leaving the status quo or “the way we've always done it”, is seldom easy.  In 2000, I was involved with a startup that had a Fortune100 company as a client and it was our task to replicate their live classroom training experience.  We needed to transform it from a satellite-distributed training infrastructure to online/internet delivery.  We had to shift their gears from live-in-the-classroom (the way it had always been done), to multiple remote venues and not lose the “personal” customer/trainee experience.  We were there because that company realized that times had changed, and they needed new and improved ways to personally connect with their customers.

How have you empowered your employees? What training courses have you found worked best?

Caroline (CASUDI) Di Diego is a social media whisperer inspiring brands and communities to find their social voice via New-Media. CASUDI has 25+ years of experience helping grow companies from concept/chaos to fundable and profitable. She is the creator of the successful Entrepreneurs Questions #EQlist www.eqli.st She is a resident writer for #BeALeader

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