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Building a customer-centered culture depends on empowering workers

Sharing examples shows the trust the firm has in their employees and sends a clear message about the expected behavior.

Industry leaders often build a strong reputation for customer service, and for many the secret of their success lies in empowering employees to make the consumer happy. Retail Customer Experience reports that firms like Wegmans, The Apple Store and The Ritz-Carlton have developed their brand's reputation by trusting their staff to make the right decisions regarding customer service.

Creating an environment that encourages workers to use their common sense to resolve problems requires friendly, energetic employees and the right training. The source notes that setting an example and sharing successes have been essential to developing the right environment at all three organizations. Businesses can use reward and recognition programs to create a customer-first culture that will build loyalty and drive company growth.

Acknowledging strong customer service
Recognizing when workers go above and beyond expectations helps to create a sense of pride among staff members. Employees will be more willing to please the customer if they know their actions will be supported by their supervisors. Wegmans media relations director, Jo Natale, shared with the source an email from a happy customer, describing a situation in which the company's employee overrode store policy not to accept payments over the phone. The client was very pleased that she was able to help her family out by paying for a cake even though she was unable to make it to a reunion in person. This level of service is expected at the grocery store chain where trust and empowerment is one of its core values.

"We empower our people to make decisions that improve their work and benefit our customers and our company," Natale said.

Sharing examples highlights path for workers
Sharing examples shows the trust the firm has in their employees and sends a clear message about the expected behavior. Rewards are also a simple way to encourage participation in the efforts to provide better service. By awarding points to the purchase of an assortment of merchandise, companies can increase morale and generate enthusiasm in firms' efforts to boost customer satisfaction. Often success can mean doing simple, but effective things like listening to the client and building a relationship.

Forbes reports that The Apple Store is known for its knowledgeable staff, but it is the friendliness and compassion they often show for customers that has built the firm's reputation in customer service. In one example a customer missed the opportunity to renew his one to one training membership because of health problems. Because the employee was encouraged to listen to employees his first questions were about the customer's current state of health, which showed a personalized and caring approach to business.

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