I am lucky to have a Waitrose shop within walking distance from where I live. Yes, I do shop there regularly because it’s convenient. But the real reason is their empowered employees make me feel valued and happy.
I regularly encounter shop employees who barely make eye contact so I’m delighted when I do experience care and kindness.
Last week after searching unsuccessfully for a bag of salad advertised on a special, I asked a young Waitrose employee for help. He confirmed there were none on the shelf and went to check the stock at the back.
He quickly returned, apologising as they were out of stock. He then invited me to choose another bag of salad to purchase at the special price. At the check out, I mentioned this to the young lady and without hesitation she honoured the promise and subtracted the price difference from my bill.
When employees are empowered to truly focus on customer care, your business is rewarded with customer loyalty. Empowerment doesn’t mean giving over control. True empowerment starts with caring for and investing in your people. It means giving them direction, knowledge, skills and support.
There are many benefits to empowering employees and these include;
Great Customer Service
My experience at Waitrose demonstrates the positive impact employee empowerment has for customers. Excellent customer experience increases customer loyalty, repeat business and referrals.
Innovation and growth
Innovation is essential for business growth and success. When employees are given the freedom to think and are encouraged to solve problems, a wealth of ideas emerge. Innovation brings new products, better processes and improved services.
Learning and Development
When employees are encouraged to make decisions and take action, they learn by doing. Stretching out of their comfort zone and being allowed to make mistakes are valuable ways for them to learn and grow.
Employees allowed to decide how they achieve their goals will do so because they ‘want to’ rather than because they ‘have to’. They tend take responsibility for their actions and pride in their achievements.
People are the key to successful business growth. How are you investing in your people? If you haven’t done so, I urge you to read The Zappos Experience and discover the Zappos people magic.
Jenny Johnson Leadership Coach