An organization could employ twenty thousand people, but to the customer, the person he deals with represents the organization. Developing positive customer relationships involve creating differentiated experiences that are also meaningful and memorable. A company can be considered as capable of providing differentiated experiences, when none of their competitors are able to provide the same quality, service or the accompanying experience as they do. So, what role does a frontline employee play in providing great customer experiences? Let us find out.

Differentiating your brand in today’s highly competitive market place, is not easy.It would not be possible without knowing your customer inside out. Analyzing customer feedback would give you insights into customer behavior, but,no one knows your customers as well as your frontline employees. They interact with customers on a daily basis, and they know customers’ subconscious thoughts and aspirations.A customer might think he knows what he wants, but, there is always a chance of a fully empowered and knowledgeable frontline staff knowing better.

So the first step to making a change would be to ‘listen’ to frontline staff. Unfortunately, most organizations do not treat frontline employees as an indispensable asset. Instead of focusing solely on customers, companies should take the time out to listen to what their frontline staff has to say; these people can give a better insight into customers, than anyone else in the organization.

The next step would be, giving them the power to act. Train and empower them. Give them the confidence to trust their judgement. Ensure they are not bound by strict rules that prevent them from going that extra mile to help a customer. Involve them in creating the customer experience management strategy; not only can they point out problem areas, but they could also come up with ideas that could differentiate you from the competition.Implementing even a small number of their suggestions, could make them feel heard, and also, motivate them.

Frontline managers are often regarded, as the most responsible for the success or failure of a business.The first level of management across an organization’s business operations, frontline managers motivate and boost the morale of the people who do the work.Typically, frontline managers directly supervise up to 80% of the company’s workforce. They are an important part of the company’s business strategy, as they oversee execution. However, not all CEOs take it upon themselves to mobilize frontline managers.An occasional speech during a site visit is not enough. What is needed is to single out frontline managers as an important group in management ranks, to spend sufficient time to interact with them directly and to use these interactions to mobilize the entire company.

Almost every business faces unanticipated changes in technologies and markets, pressures from customers or suppliers, and disruptions to traditional business models. Leaders need to focus on creating organizations that are highly adaptive and responsive. Executing existing routines is not enough. Companies need to create a culture of ‘passionate drivers ‘–people who dare to question the traditional way of doing things, focus on complex issues and stick with it till it is resolved. Frontline managers are key to bringing such a business to life. As they manage a vast number of employees, they play a huge role in the company’s performance. Their opinion of the senior management influences the way they lead people. When engaged and energized, it is communicated to the people they manage; resulting in a charged up and well aligned organization.

An empowered frontline is not only key to gaining meaningful insights about customer behavior, but they are also critical in improving existing practices. To achieve true customer delight, an organization should be able to provide a positive experience, that is different from what their competitors provide.  The way to go here, is an empowered frontline.

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