Empower employees for better customer service

Empower employees for better customer service

Photo credit: Reuters

Companies agree that customer success is important for a business. However, not all companies know how to achieve it. There are many elements and approaches to achieve customer success. Empower every employee is one of the important approaches.

Using airline as an example, recently my family and I had the opportunity to travel with several airlines during our summer vacations. Nonetheless to say the experience varies from airline to airline. What we’ve observed is that not only the company culture matters but also how companies empower their employees matters more.

Here is a simple comparison of two airline travel experience.

 Airline AHainan Airline
Check inCan not check in for the connecting flight. We were simply told that we have to get out the airport when arriving at the connecting airport and check in at the outside counter.The travel agency did not update the booking correctly. Front conter staff went out of his way personnaly went to the office, fix the tickets, printed out the boarding pass, and printted out the connecting flight boarding pass. (Originally he wasn’t able to print out the connecting flight boarding pass, but assured us there will be staff on the other end to guide us through the process). He brought tickest and passports back to us in person. Also used his personal cell phone to confirm.
Total duration21hrs20hrs
Overall flight length16hrs14hrs
Lay over time4.5hrs5.5hrs
Air port transferSelf guided. When we ask the staff at the gate where to find the connected counter, they simply told us to follow the signs.Seperate buss suttle passengers to domestic arrival and international transer points. Staff walked the passengers as a group to the transfer point in the airport. A couple passengers were not able to have the connecting flight boarding pass printed, and their luggage was delievered to te domestic flight luggage pick up. An airline staff walked with them to pick up their bags and walked them back to the international transfer point.
Waiting experience during lay overOver crowded waiting area. The connecting flight ended up getting canceled. There wasn’t anny announcement till boarding time. The airline staff put out a sandwich board with very generic infomation. When passengers inqury about the cancelation, the counter staff at the gate told the passengers she did not have any additional infomation. The cancellation is due to the weather therefore, the airline could not provide any additional assistant.Small airport. However, immediatly upon arrival at the transfer point, the staff announced that since there is a 5hrs layover, it is onsider a long layover. The airline arranged hotel for the passengers. A shuttle transpotation from the airport to the hotel and pick up from the hotel to the airport had been arranged.

Two similar flights but two extremely different experience. For HaiNan Airline, at each service point, the staff takes full ownership of the area. They were empowered to make decisions that benefit the customers, which results in customer satisfaction.

It is not a surprise that Hainan airline made to the top 10 airline list published by Skytrax. Past efforts and future development innovation play an important role. Most importantly from a customer’s perspective, the airline provides excellent customer service. Empower every employee to put customer’s need first.