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Joining to get some ideas and some help
Posted: 17 Oct 2012 15:25
I manage a team of about 30 people providing support to specialized medical software. Most of my clients a IT professionals. I joined mostly to look for answers for better management of my team.
At this time I am looking for ways to make my team more accountable for their work.
Posted: 18 Oct 2012 11:43
Welcome, Roger. It's great to see a fellow management professional here!
Posted: 21 Nov 2012 07:48
Through much trial and error I found the best way of improving satisfaction for customers, and helping staff improve (and be accountable) was to introduce post-call surveys. At the time I was running a medium sized call team of 70.
The key is to keep the surveys short, make sure the responses are followed up immediately (when necessary) and let everyone see the feedback online. Standards start rising immediately and soon the quantity of praise exceeds problems and everyone's more motivated.
The results were so dramatic in improving customer retention and referrals that I left and set up CustomerSure to develop a software product to do this, based on what we learnt.
Hope that helps, feel free to contact me - happy to share my experiences.
Posted: 21 Nov 2012 08:45
I do agree to a certain extent with Guy- if you aren't measuring the important criteria (customer satisfaction being the most important from a CSM point of view) then it's hard to determine whether you're improving or not.
But fundamentally i think there are ways to change peoples attitudes and behaviours through good leadership. In this case you are looking to make your staff be more accountable - well accountability is about responsibility and taking ownership BUT it's really important to ensure your staff both want and know how to be accountable and you provide the right support - so as a leader you need to be empowering your staff and giving them the skills and trust to manage their relationships with customers. In my experience it's easier to be clear about, and focus on, the behaviours as well as the outcomes. What to you want the staff to do or say differently? How do you want them to act? What are your criteria for being accountable? Sharing this is essential - be specific! And don't try and do this overnight - I have often found that changing a few small things , particularly if your staff are resistant, is much easier than a big bang approach
Posted: 23 Nov 2012 05:26
Hi Sue, Guy,
Thanks for the posts. We are in a situation where we are getting high marks from our clients and have been industry leaders for customer service and want to stay on top.
Our staff have a list of criteria for each ticket which is created. We operate in the medical world, so the need to follow a number of rules for security and confidentiality.
All the staff understand what they need to do, the problem is they don't always do it. So we end up with bad tickets and missing documentation. For both myself (technical manager) and the operations manager are scoring a random set of tickets and creating scorecards (not shared with the staff). Based on the score cards (monthly) we ask the 3 performers to mentor the bottom 3 performers.
The change in attitude that I would like to see is for people to care about the mistakes, for now since there is no concrete consequence to minor offences people just shrug them off. We are being pushed by HR to use positive enforcement, which is a good thing, but makes it hard to find a way to force people to be more careful with little items.
Our staff has a lot of leeway as we are not a call center, we cater to IT professional who in turn support their own organization. Most our calls require some research and possible interaction with other departments like R&D or deployment teams. I believe that our staff feels empowered in general.
To answer your questions I would like my staff to take the time to document issues properly and not just rush the documentation and miss half the steps that we request in triage or while closing a ticket. We don't count the number of tickets or how long an agent spends on a ticket, the reason (and we tell them this on a weekly basis) is we don't want people to rush to increase stats and miss some steps.
Any more ideas would be welcome.
Posted: 23 Nov 2012 07:25
I feel for you because it sounds like this isn't about the motivation to do a good job, which seems to be OK, rather it's about making sure the 'paperwork' is in order, which we all find a chore.
So the problem is still about meeting business objectives - the obvious one of 'customer' satisfaction and the less obvious one of compliance.
I've never found a silver bullet on this, but I think Sue's ideas hold the key. With similar problems in my experience the answer never comes by enforcement, it comes by the people understanding the problem (which you say they do) and wanting to get it right (which is the gap to be filled).
So then, some suggestions for you to consider:
- Can you get a feedback loop in place for the compliance records? Who is the 'customer' for those? Could they use the satisfaction survey mechanisms I suggested? The goal is to make the invisible business objective (compliance) more visible by measuring performance and feeding back.
- Why are you keeping the scorecards secret? Can you aggregate them and post the whole team's accuracy scores on big posters? Peer pressure is a powerful thing. Celebrating success reinforces performance, and the celebration can be relatively simple & low cost.
- Can you involve the team members in taking some responsibility for correct completion? Perhaps each person takes a week at making sure they're up to scratch - then the motivation for correct completion is to help a colleague. On the flip side, everyone gets a taste of how problematic that job is, and is more motivated to help get it right themselves next time.
My final piece of advice is more controversial! Much as I respect the professional skills of HR people, and I have worked alongside some brilliant and caring HR practitioners, it's rare to get good advice on this type of issue from someone who has not had operational experience of it. Trust your instincts and filter ALL the advice you get (including this!)
Posted: 23 Nov 2012 07:38
This is obviously about getting the right KPIs in place - quality needs to become just as, if not more, important than quantity. I work in an IT environment and have probably a similar culture - but I don;t think I could do my job without measuring tickets and resolution rates as a minimum. If you aren't measuring what's important then how will you ever know where you stand. I get you're not a call centre but some basic indicators may be a good idea, and something you can share and resolve with your staff. A great way of making people accountable is to throw the issue back at them to resolve - "Ok guys here's the problem how are WE going to solve it?"
Whatever you focus on and reward -the positive reinforcement HR are looking for- will ultimately win out but it will probably take longer!.Personally I have no issues with using a stick as well as a carrot but I always communicate and enforce the consequences especially if staff do not meet expectations regularly. Giving structure is important but setting new boundaries and expectations is difficult as people are often motivated by goals in different ways and may need different management approaches.
In my experience its a 3 point rule. clear expectations and structure, reward when it works, support and coaching as a consequence when it doesn't (only once has this has escalated further for me but if someone is prepared to overstep the rules continuously then they usually have a serious issue to be addressed or they are in the wrong job!).
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