Employee empowerment enables or authorizes an individual to think, behave, act, control their work and make decisions in autonomous ways. Contact centres often fail agents in the empowerment department by using strict scripts, nit picking and holding a tight reign of control over customer service representatives decision making authority.
"Empowerment is another word for trust" - Paul Cooper.
There are many definitions for employee empowerment but regardless one thing is unchanged: employee empowerment is closely linked to culture and leadership, neither of which can change with the click of a finger.
To create a contact centre where agents are empowered there are 5 steps to follow to get there; Training, Responsibility, Unity, Success and Trust. To read the steps in full download the full white paper here.
Train Contact Centre Agents
You must give your CSRs the skills to handle interactions and make educated decisions. CSRs must become brand ambassadors, they can only achieve this through extensive training and experience. Inform agents of corporate goals and translate these into how they carry out their activities, agents aren't mind readers and it's unfair to expect them to know how to embody corporate vision in their tasks.
Give Call Centre Agents Responsibility
Empowerment is all about giving agents the power to make their own decisions, this will have little impact if agents aren't responsible for the decisions they make. Agents will place more importance on their decision making status if they are responsible for results.
Work in Unity
Even when employees are empowered it doesn't mean they are alone, the reality it that all agents are in the same position and even though they are in charge of themselves their actions do impact others and the team. When everyone works in unison they will make greater strides so encourage collective goals as well as individual ones.
Celebrate Customer Service Success
With a new found empowerment you will expect to have success stories however these successes are likely to be much more meaningful than previous ones because agents relied on their own expertise to achieve success. It's important to recognize these successes and encourage agents to share their successes, this will create a sense that empowerment has and is making a difference.
"Empowered people need a greater level of satisfaction than simply financial stability. If they have to ask how they are doing, you are doing your job poorly as a leader" - Kevin Daum, Inc.
Trust Customer Service Representatives
Empowerment needs to be backed up with trust, there's no point in giving agents power if you don't trust them to make the best decisions, you must have faith in your staff.
"We don't have scripts because we trust our employees to use their best judgement" -Tony Hseih, CEO, Zappos.