We all have experienced it when talking to a service employee, the tone of the person we are talking to is influencing the way we are handling the situation and may even influence our perception of the brand or the company.
A study of Jaewon Yoo (2017) did research influences that have an impact on the voice behaviour of front-line employees. The study showed that customer power in conversations with customer service personnel was significantly influenced by the customer services front-line employee voice behaviour. The customer power on the other hand restricts the autonomy of the service staff and their supervisors.
Normally an open support of managers should help front-line customer service personnel to handle stressful situation with customers effectively. The study has proven that if customer service managers support their front-line staff adequately, it pays off in a positive influence on the front-line employees’ voice behaviour due to the psychological empowerment which again has an influence on the level of customer power. Furthermore, the correlation between employees and their work environment e.g. their interdependency to colleagues can have an impact on their self-efficacy and lead to a more constructive communication.
Jaewon Yoo, (2017) argues that customer service employees would be able to understand customers better if they learn about the possible impact of customer power on their strategies. As such, managers must behave in a way that gives their employees the feeling of being autonomous. The author suggests that especially open-minded managers that listen to their staff concerns can have an influence on their self-awareness. Nevertheless, also managers are influenced by powerful customers and therefore should follow a self-control mechanism.
Concluding it can be said, that front line customer service employees can be more sensitive to customers if they have managers that listen to them and behave accurately themselves in their interacting work environment. Trainings for all customer service employees on the receipt of customer power is also a suggested method in order to improve the voice behaviour in customer services.
Jaewon Yoo, (2017) “Customer power and frontline employee voice behavior: Mediating roles of psychological empowerment”, European Journal of Marketing, 51 (1), pp.238-256.