Making sure customers have the best service sometimes means loosening the reins and giving employees more freedom to make on-the-spot decisions.

Lately, there has been a common theme at seemingly unrelated events – the importance of employee engagement and empowerment. Just in the last several weeks, it has come up at the Drucker Supply Chain Forum, the Harvey Mudd executive panel event, and at the CEO Summit.

Do you have empowered teams? Or do you just think you do? In thinking about empowered teams, we can ask a few pointed questions:

  1. Do you communicate the importance of employees acting in the best interest of the customer? Do your teams understand what they are able to do to satisfy a customer?
  2. If an employee makes a decision within reason of the guidelines you set and with the “right” end goal (whether or not it is the way you would have made the decision), do you pat them on the back?
  3. Would your team members ever cite policies and procedures to internal or external customers as a reason something cannot happen if pressed for an answer? How do you think it makes your customers feel?
  4. Can your teams spend money to satisfy a customer? How much is too much?