From Wikipedia…The process which enables one to gain power, authority and influence over others, institutions or society. Empowerment is probably the totality of the following or similar capabilities:
- Having decision-making power of one’s own
- Having access to information and resources for taking proper decision
- Having a range of options from which you can make choices (not just yes/no, either/or.)
- Ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision making
- Having positive thinking on the ability to make change
- Ability to learn skills for improving one’s personal or group power.
- Ability to change others’ perceptions by democratic means.
- Involving in the growth process and changes that is never ending and self-initiated
- Increasing one’s positive self-image and overcoming stigma
- Increasing one’s ability in discreet thinking to sort out right and wrong
In short, empowerment is the process that allows one to gain the knowledge, skill-sets and attitude needed to cope with the changing world and the circumstances in which one lives.
Empower your people such that they can take care of customers in one interaction or transaction. Why?
- makes good business sense
- ups your efficiency level
- shortens your call time
- eliminates callbacks, and
- affords an opportunity to cross-sell, upsell or whatever is appropriate in your organization.
I’ve written about Zappos previously. They were recently on the front page of INC Magazine (May 2009), and their people have complete empowerment, with no restrictions, but rather, encouragement to take great care of customers, before, during and after the sale. And they do go above and beyond.
Don’t give lip service to this concept of empowerment. Make sure your feet follow your mouth!
What also impressed me is that Zappos does not track call times or require their people to read from scripts. “It’s all about P-E-C: Personal Emotional Connection with the customer…”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. As I’ve put forth many times…what separates you from your competition is not your product or service, but rather, your relationship with your customer.