How to Empower the Front-Line Service Employee: A Continuous Improvement Model

Article

Congram, Carole; John, Joby   (1993, ASQC)   Bentley College; Waltham, MA

Annual Quality Congress, Boston MA    Vol. 47    No. 0
QICID: 9979    May 1993    pp. 360-365
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Article Abstract

In high contact services, managers must improve quality by relying on front line employees to have the skills and authority to accommodate individual customer needs. An empowered employee meets customer requirements by making informed decisions based on the organization's policies and procedures. An empowered employee has these qualities: understands customer service principles and practices; has the technical skills to make decisions; has access to resources, such as information, equipment, and other employees; has the authority to make decisions; understands the company's service delivery systems; and participates in the improvement of service and setting of performance standards. The manager in this continuous improvement empowered model should think of the employees as management's customers, and so employee satisfaction becomes a natural parallel to external customer satisfaction. Measures of success of service given by empowered employees can include employee satisfaction, employee turnover, customer satisfaction, and productivity indicators. The key to the success of this strategy is the manager because motivation of the service employee motivation is tied to both employee and customer satisfaction.

Keywords

Continuous improvement (CI),Customer satisfaction (CS),Customer service,Decision making,Employees,Empowerment,Service sector


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