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Employee empowerment is vital to CX success

The Age of the Customer. Customer Obsession. Customer Centricity. Whatever you want to call it, we know that this day and age companies must deliver experiences that truly meet customers’ ever-increasing expectations. We sometimes forget, though, that it’s not the “company” delivering the experience to the customer, it’s the company’s employees.

Far too often we forget that all employees are integral in shaping that customer experience and in order to help employees deliver a positive experience we must empower them to do so. This week I learned about two exceptional examples of companies empowering their employees to provide outstanding experiences. I share them with you in hopes that you too will be inspired to empower your employees and discover the positive impact it will have on your customers and employees.

The first example I heard while I was at the LoyaltyExpo™ conference this past week. MGM Resorts International was presenting on their CX program and the unique thing was that it wasn’t about the customer, it was about the employees’ impact on the customer experience. According to the presentation, MGM owns 60% of the properties on the Vegas strip – that’s a lot of hotels! And at each one they have stacks of vouchers in central locations to employees. Each voucher is good for a meal, drinks or visits to attractions on site.

Every employee, no matter their role, is permitted to hand out vouchers whenever they feel that a situation warrants it. There’s no maximum number they can give out and tracking is only done to make sure that employees are giving out enough of them. Since launching this program MGM has seen increased employee engagement and satisfaction because they now have the power to manage service recovery, the customer is obviously pleased and let’s not forget that when someone goes to redeem their free drinks, they might stay and order more.

The second example is a more personal one. A family member recently lost a loved one and in the chaos of trying to manage work travel, kids and get home in time for the service, he forgot to pay a credit card. He called CapitalOne a few days after the payment was due and explained the situation. The call center agent immediately waived any late fees and the call was over. That was easy and a good experience, but that’s not all. A few days later a large bouquet of white roses and lilies arrived at the door with a hand written condolence note from that call center agent.

I don’t know the inner workings of CapitalOne’s call center, but you can only imagine that the agents are empowered to take actions like this without having to get much, if any approval and they are likely encouraged to do so.

Empowering employees in these ways can be scary at first. Will someone take advantage? Probably, not the majority. Will this cost extra money? In the short term, maybe. Will it work? Yes! Take some risks and give your employees a little more leeway to manage the relationship with your customers and I bet your employees will be more engaged and loyal, and as a result your customers will be too. 

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