Daily rhythms, small habits that have been cultivated over days, months, and years, are key to succeeding in the world of customer service. James Clear, in his phenomenal book Atomic Habits, writes, “Success is the product of daily habits–not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”
Customer service managers know this better than anyone, having the monumental task of establishing relationships with employees, customers, and other management teams. They tirelessly build these relationships through key habits. Customer service managers are the main hinge point in handling disputes and set the tone for how a business will be perceived from the outside in.
By cultivating these five habits, you will create a healthy environment in your workplace while also protecting yourself from burnout.
1. Clear and Concise Communication
One of the best habits to cultivate is making every word you communicate as clear as possible. Emails and memos can muddy the genuine sentiments of a message, and this is especially true when you are offering feedback to one member of your team. Without body language, or other non-verbal cues, someone may misunderstand what you’ve written. Write professionally, but also in a way that builds up your coworkers.
How to build this habit: Write on the company’s blog and speak up in the company’s meetings. When issues arise be open to feedback, knowing that even the best of us make mistakes when trying to be clear.
Crisis management has always been your strong suit, and that’s what allowed you to be an excellent customer service representative. But managers deal with a new set of issues. The most helpful habit in crisis management is to try to understand the feelings of those who have come to you with an issue. By sharing their feelings, people will know that you’ve heard them.
How to build this habit: Empathy is a tough habit to maintain. A little helpful advice, though: Don’t become jaded. Be willing to ask yourself, “Why does this person think this way?” and don’t jump to conclusions.
3. Having an Open Door Policy
Just like customer service reps, customer service managers deal with issues from customers. But you must be available to your employees to help them with account issues. Be prepared to guide your employees through career development questions.
How to build this habit: A practical way to do this is to ask what issues your employees are facing. Most will be grateful that you’ve asked and will provide feedback on what seems to work and what doesn’t.
4. Work-life balance
Sometimes you can’t help but bring the stress of work home with you. Without proper self-care, even the most well-adjusted person can suffer from mental stress. Mental stress affects not just the ability to think and process information but can have major effects on your body. Shedding the stress in your life is one way to keep from burning out.
How to build this habit: Try to set time apart at the beginning of your day to meditate and mentally prepare for the day. You’ll be surprised on how even ten minutes of time just for yourself can help you recharge, allowing you to handle whatever issues you come across. Take time for you.
5. Casting Vision
Vision leaks. Although most of your employees will know the basic reason the company does what it does, you need to be leading from the front, casting vision and goals for your team. This involves communicating with other departments and allowing them into the conversation. It’s important that your vision for your team fits with the values and vision of the company as a whole. Don’t be afraid to have others give input.
How to build this habit: Build up a sense of ownership among your employees. This will allow them to view your vision as their own personal mission.
These five habits can create systems for you to thrive in your role as a customer service manager. Although you may have a lot of responsibility placed on your shoulders, you can shape the culture, creating a healthy and productive workplace. Ask yourself what habits you need to cultivate from this list. How could you foster open communication? How could you put yourself out there to seek feedback, not only from those above you but also from your employees? Maybe work-life balance is an issue for you. How can you grow in this? Even a tiny tweak to one of these habits might set you on a trajectory for success.