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Newsletter #912: The “Help Your Employees Be This Awesome” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Your employees are the face of your company. More than your commercials, ads, and marketing campaigns, the interactions people have with your employees are how they will judge you. But sometimes well-meaning company regulations can keep them from delivering the best experience.

Here are three ways you can empower employees to keep your customers coming back:

1. Allow them to make quick decisions
2. Allow them to go above and beyond
3. Allow them to make exceptions
4. Check it out: Typing Karaoke

1. Allow them to make quick decisions

An employee at Rackspace was helping a customer through a long troubleshooting process when she overheard the customer tell someone they were hungry. She immediately put them on hold and ordered them a pizza. Thirty minutes later, they were still on the phone, and the pizza had arrived, courtesy of Rackspace. You can imagine how blown away they were when there was a knock at the door and the customer service rep says, “Go get it! It’s your pizza.”

The lesson: That kind of quick decision-making couldn’t have been possible if she had to go through management to ask for permission.

Learn more: Net Promoter

2. Allow them to go above and beyond

When it comes to responding to the crisis that followed Hurricane Katrina, few organizations (government or otherwise) reacted as well as Walmart. In one remarkable story, a Walmart manager literally drove a bulldozer through the front door of her store to recover what supplies she could and handed them out in the parking lot. She could do this because her boss had told her to “do the right thing.” Walmart acknowledged that their employees in the wake of Katrina would have to make some tough decisions. They trusted them and empowered them to do real good for their devastated communities. Because of stories like this, Walmart is still seen as a true hero in a terrible crisis.

The lesson: Give your employees the power to make the best possible decision, even if it’s a drastic one.

Learn more: National Post

3. Allow them to make exceptions

Trader Joe’s does not deliver. But that didn’t stop them from answering the request of a desperate daughter who was worried about her elderly father not being able to get his groceries during a snow storm in Pennsylvania. Not only did they deliver the 89 year-old his groceries, but they also suggested items that fit with his special low-sodium diet. Amazingly, they were the only grocery store in town to answer his daughter’s plea for help. Now, Trader Joe’s has given them (and everyone else who hears this amazing story) a perfect reason to share passionate word of mouth.

The lesson: Take any opportunity to show you truly care, regardless of the rules.

Learn more: Reddit

4. Check it out: Typing Karaoke

Improve your typing speed while listening to Radiohead, Stray Cats, or Kanye West. It’s like karaoke without the singing or embarrassing yourself part.

Check it out: Typing Karaoke

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