How to Get Buy-in and Create Ownership

When I was overseeing consumer affairs for an international car rental company, I struggled with getting my team to deliver the level of customer service our customers expected and deserved. One day I sat down and typed an email to my staff that read: “We urgently need to fix our hold times, talk times and case turnaround times. I need your help. What is stopping us from meeting our service goals? How do we turn this around?”

 Though I didn’t realize it at the time, emailing my employees for solutions gave my people ownership of the problem and automatically built buy-in for the solutions and changes.

That email started a thread of responses, reasons, excuses and ideas from my team. The email discussions led to the development of a task force made up of 7 of my employees who worked as a team to find ways to improve our service experience by tackling our biggest problems. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, emailing my employees for solutions gave my people ownership of the problem and automatically built buy-in for the solutions and changes.

My employees identified the root causes of our problems and they developed the strategies to attack the problems. I didn’t have to sell them on ideas or work to enforce change. Within 11 weeks of my initial email, my employees had figured out how to fix our blazing problems of long hold times, excessive talk times and delinquent case processing

The point. Go to your employees when you have customer-impacting problems to resolve. Your employees are in the trenches and they have the creativity and strategy to turn your service experience around…if they are trusted and empowered to do so. Letting your employees tackle service problems gives them ownership and creates buy-in.

If you liked this article, you might want to check out my new web event “Delivering WOW” where I help you create a culture where your employees consistently make emotional connections with customers and surprise and delight customers.