Some years ago, as I was checking out of a Four Seasons Hotel, the couple in front of me complained to the desk clerk of cobwebs in their room. Without any hesitation, the clerk immediately gave them the room at no charge. He didn´t have to check with a supervisor or dither about whether to do it or not. He just did it.That is employee empowerment. Now some might say that a few cobwebs don´t justify one or two free nights. But the hotel management might disagree with you. Sure they lost one or two nights´ revenue. But how much revenue would they have lost if this couple were regular guests and stopped returning? How much revenue would they have lost if the couple spread negative word-of-mouth because the staffer did not resolve the complaint to the couple´s satisfaction.
As the immortal philosopher, Barney Fife, used to say, "Nip it! You´ve got to nip it in the bud!" Stop the complaint before it escalates into something major. The best way to do that is to see that your employees understand your vision, policies, and procedures as they relate to customer service.
Empowering your employees also shows them that you trust them to do the right thing. This in turn has a positive impact on employee morale. The higher the employee morale, the better service they will provide to your customers. It´s that "Circle of Life" thing.
Another benefit is that if your frontline staff can resolve the complaint, then you don´t have to take up your time doing it.
So let´s recap. Empowering employees to resolve complaints:
Nips the customer´s complaint in the bud often keeping the customer from taking his/her business elsewhere
Stops negative word of mouth and can create positive word of mouth
Positively impacts employee morale
Requires less time from owners and/or senior managers.
And the real benefit to you is more profit over time.