For years, customer experience experts everywhere called for businesses to empower their employees with the knowledge and skills necessary to properly take care of customers. That, of course, is still a necessary part of creating a top-notch customer experience. It’s not the last word on the subject, though.

Today’s customers aren’t the same as they were years ago. They now have access to a wealth of information via the internet that previous generations did not. They now approach purchase decisions by factoring in an array of information ranging from manufacturer-provided product data to real-world customer reviews and are often more knowledgeable than any sales representative could hope to be. The key to providing them with the kind of customer experience they want is to be an ally of sorts, working to empower them to make informed purchases without a hard-sell approach. Here are three ways that today’s businesses can empower their customers and create a customer experience that increases retention, sales, and ensures long-term success.