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When you manage a customer service team, it’s always wonderful to see your staff come into work with a smile on their face, ready to start the working day.
However, this is not always the case. Frustration with work and home life can sometimes leave employees feeling unmotivated and uninspired.
As a team leader, there are many things you can do to keep your team motivated and help them deliver outstanding service to your inbound callers.
Why is motivating your customer service team so important?
Keeping your customer service team motivated and invested in the work they do is essential when it comes to maintaining and growing your business.
Motivated and happy team members are more likely to stay with the company. This reduces staff churn levels and means less time and resources are needed to train new staff. This is especially important in the customer service industry, where employee turnover is typically higher than average.
Keeping your staff motivated encourages them to push on and provide high service levels to customers, leading to improved customer satisfaction.
Finally, improved motivation results in happier customers who will be more loyal to your business, more receptive to upselling and more likely to recommend you to others.
With all this in mind, here are 10 ways to boost motivation in your department and help to retain and grow your customer base.
Providing consistent and timely feedback to your team is critical. It helps staff understand what they are doing right and where they need to improve.
Take the time to speak to the individual members of your team regularly and let them know how they are doing.
Remember honesty is the best policy when it comes to giving feedback. Don’t be afraid to give constructive feedback if you need to, as it shows you care about your team’s performance.
Communication is a two-way street. Not only is it important to speak to your team, but they need to be able to talk to you too.
Make it as easy as possible for your staff to get in touch, whether it’s by phone, email or face-to-face. You can even go old-school and have a suggestions box in the canteen if your team are in the office. Bear in mind while some staff may be happy to talk to you in a public setting, others may prefer to give feedback to you in confidence.
As well as listening to your team, you need to ensure that the feedback you receive is actioned.
Every member of your customer service team is an individual. They wear different clothes, they speak with different accents, they like different types of food.
Similarly, you should treat them individually when it comes to what motivates them. While some staff are motivated by salary and benefits, others are inspired by other factors. For example, some want to work in a positive company culture, some want to be recognised for their hard work, and others want job security.
When you know how the individuals on your team are best motivated, you can take affirmative action to ensure they are happy in the workplace.
How can you find out what motivates your staff? By talking to them. Take the time to speak to your customer service team individually. If this isn’t possible, ask them to complete a brief survey.
When you work in customer service, there are many metrics to be aware of such as call duration, customer satisfaction and wait time. While goals are great for giving your team direction and focus, unrealistic KPIs can cause motivation to plummet.
Review the goals you have in play to see if they are reasonable. If not, can you amend them or choose new ones?
Remember all goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.
Many people value autonomy in the workplace – the ability to do their jobs how they want to. Too little control or the threat of micro-management can lead to anxiety, stress and a loss of motivation.
While certain things in a customer service environment need to be done (like answering calls), review your processes and see if there is any flexibility or areas for autonomy. For example, can you give your staff the freedom to offer a lower price within certain parameters, without referring to their supervisor?
When working in customer service, you will inevitably speak to a negative, demanding, or angry customer. While it is vital to deal with them calmly and sympathetically, this can take its toll on even the most experienced member of your team.
If you do not have a policy in place, see what you can do to help your staff’s wellbeing. Can they take 10 minutes to grab a drink and recompose themselves, or talk the call through with their supervisor? In an extreme situation, you may want to allow your staff to terminate an abusive call.
Coaching can help here too. If a staff member has a run-in with an angry or awkward customer, review the call with them and see where they can improve the experience next time around.
As the old saying goes, “you’re only as good as the tools you use.”
Giving your team access to the right equipment to do their job will reduce frustration and improve job satisfaction. This may include computer monitors (more than one per person), phones, headsets, and up-to-date software.
Get your IT team or a trusted provider to audit everyone’s workspaces. Alternatively, let your team give feedback to you about what hardware and software they are missing.
The tools may not just be tangible ones, for example has your team got the right support network in place to help them work effectively?
As we mentioned previously, churn can be higher than average in a customer service environment. Investing in staff and making them feel confident in what they do can boost their motivation.
Talk to your team and see how you can help them in their work. Would they like some training to help with a piece of software they use? Do they want to learn meditation techniques to let them unwind at the end of the working day? Is there a qualification they want to study for so they can be considered for a future promotion?
Even giving staff time off to attend college or university can help them feel valued in their role.
A little friendly competition can go a long way in keeping your customer service team motivated and improving performance.
Choose a key performance indicator you want to improve and create a leader board within your department. The winning individual or team then receives a prize, whether it’s a gift voucher, a bottle of bubbly or an early finish!
One caveat with this suggestion – ask your team for their thoughts first. While some staff members may love the idea of a bit of healthy competition, others may not care for it so much.
It’s always a nice feeling when someone acknowledges the hard work you do. When you recognise your customer support team, you are showing them you appreciate their efforts.
You can recognise the work of your team in many different ways. Have a pizza lunch in the office on Friday. Arrange a trip to a local bar after work on payday. Organise a team-building event. Announce an employee of the month and put their photo on the wall.
Even taking the time to send a kind thank you email can go a long way in making your team members feel respected.
It can sometimes be a complex challenge to boost motivation and morale in a customer service team. Evening and weekend hours, short-term staff and unhappy customers can all contribute to an apathetic or stressful working environment.
However, take the time to listen and work with your staff and you can keep motivation levels high, as well as provide outstanding levels of service.
If you need extra resources to support your inbound customer service team, FMG is here to help.
As experts in customer service, we will provide a reliable, scalable Australian-based support team that seamlessly complements your existing customer service department.
Contact us today by calling 1300 396 888 or sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell us a bit about what you’re looking for and we’ll be in touch right away.