Is it worth a customer service manager’s time to handle at least some of these escalations personally?
Some yes. But only after you empower your frontline staff to resolve as many of these as possible on the first contact. Here are four reasons why:
- The faster the complaint is resolved, the better the chances the customer will not only be retained by have his or her loyalty increased.
- Empowerment saves dollars by reducing the need to involve a manager or supervisor
- Empowerment increases the employee’s engagement with the organization. This reduces costs by reducing turnover.
- Empowering the employee to handle complaints prepares him or her for more responsibility sooner.
Service Untitled mentions that one benefit would be that managers would stay in touch with customers.
Here’s my suggestion. Create a clearly defined and well-communicated complaint process. One component of this process would clearly set the parameters for empowering front line staff to handle complaints. Another would be that all complaints should be tracked and the resolutions reported upwards. Here’s why: let’s say your business has 27 employees or 27 locations spread out over a defined geographic area. If 50% of those employees or locations report one instance of the same complaint, it is quite likely that each will think the complaint is an aberration. But a manager receiving a report of these resolutions would quickly spot a trend and be able to take action.
Managers should definitely be there to support the front line. But a better way for managers to stay in touch with customers is to have regular customer contact by getting out onto the sales floor or into the territories with the reps. Years ago I worked for Harris-Lanier and the rule was that even senior executives had to get out and sell once a month. That’s the way to keep managers in contact with customers. Managers also get to see a cross-section of customers, not just those with complaints.
You’ll complain less if you follow me on Twitter. I’m txglennross