What is Frontline Empowerment?
Frontline Empowerment means the targeted empowerment of certain employees within an organization. Sometimes you find the term “frontline engagement” which has a similar meaning. The empowerment can mean, for example, that employees are given more say or power to make decisions.
The so-called frontline stands for all employees “at the front” – meaning direct customer contact. This firstly includes the agents in customer service or call centres, and depending on the company, also all employees in branches or in the field who are directly in touch with the customer.
“Empowerment” or “engagement” means that the employees are given more say or power for decision-making.
How does Frontline Empowerment work?
In practice, there are various means to implement frontline engagement. Here are a few examples:
- Employees get access to systems in which they can positively influence certain processes for the customer.
- Employees are given new authorizations so that they can make certain decisions on their own or make changes to solve customer problems (e.g. to prevent transfers to the hotline).
- Creating new infrastructures to transfer information or tasks from the frontline to the rest of the organization.
- Greater involvement of the frontline in decisions through surveys (see also Voice of Employee)
What are the benefits?
The empowerment of employees in customer contact is often a targeted means of positively influencing the relationship between a company and its customers. Often the frontline is a relatively isolated area that is poorly connected to the rest of the organization though the employees who work there have a great influence on things such as customer satisfaction.
Frontline empowerment in customer service
Customer service centers are typically set up in a way that employees can answer customers’ questions but have no influence on the underlying structures causing them in the first place. This way, problems are always only dealt with, but not solved at the root. Tying both sides closer together supports the flow of insights from customer contact to the decision-making parties. Thus, frontline engagement can be an effective means for contact reduction. KPIs such as First Contact Resolution (FCR) or Average Handling Time (AHT) can also be improved.