How Sonic Innovations creates sustainable word of mouth by empowering front-line employees

Sonic Innovations, a Salt Lake City hearing aid manufacturer, gives customer service employees the authority to make a wide range of decisions in an effort to make customers happy, including offering refunds, swapping one product for another, giving away free batteries, and providing free consulting services.

In an interview with Sonic Innovations president Andy Raguskus, he stressed that this only works if employees aren’t reprimanded for making bad decisions in an effort to please the customer. “If employees make a decision I wouldn’t have made, I won’t burn them for it,” explains Raguskus. “Nine times out of 10, our reps make fabulous choices.”

The Lesson: Empower your front-line and customer service employees with the authority to make customers happy. These people represent the first impressions and the problem solvers — and they’re the ones best positioned to earn you a whole bunch of word of mouth.

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