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Changing our Customer Service Focus

Author opentosuggestions
#1 | Posted: 4 Mar 2009 00:47 
Hi, just found this website, and looks like I can get some valuable advice from all of you. I'm looking forward to your responses to my question.
I joined a new company a few months ago as an Account Manager. Because I have experience in the past as a CSM, I have been asked to make some recommendations about changing the focus of our CS Team. Although I do have some ideas myself, I am very interested to hear all other opinions/ideas.
Here is my challenge:
1. Our CS Team are very negative, and I don't believe they will be easily motivated to a new challenge. Job has been inbound calls only since time immemorial...
2. We would like to give them a Customer Account Base to work with and gain more business, effectively mixing inbound calls with outbound.
I have some ideas on setting targets for number of outbound calls. Know they need training on product knowledge such as "if they bought this, they may be interested in that", etc.
However, my biggest challenge is getting them excited about the new direction their job is taking. Targets and commission are all very well (money will motivate most, but not all people), but does anyone have any different suggestions to assist?
Looking forward to different ideas....so thanks in advance.

Author Penny R
#2 | Posted: 4 Mar 2009 02:53 
I am in the same situation. I took over a group of customer service reps where the morale is low. Our downfall is we are so focused on processing and shipping orders we are neglecting one of the most important aspects of CS and that is calling the customer up to touch base with them. I am implementing a monthly contest where the CSR with the most outbound customer centric will receive something whether it would be a gift card to a restaurant, movie tickets or even a gas card. Always looking for ideas...

Author KarenSB
#3 | Posted: 4 Mar 2009 14:19 
Just my two cents, which really means: take what you want and leave the rest.
And, I can be quite the curmudgeon, so feel free to take that into account also.

For most people, money is not the motivation. Study after study after study has concluded the same thing. Money is nice. Yes, we all work so that we can do things, have things...and it takes money to do things, have things. If we all were motivated merely by money alone, wouldn't we all be dealing in porn and illegal drugs?

I am willing to bet that the low morale and negative attitude issues you both are facing stem from the employees feeling under-valued. And organizations all over the world under-value their workers.

How many times have these employees been asked what they want, what they need, and have your organizations ever made any attempt to acknowledge that? My guess is that one of two things have happened: No one has ever asked them for their opinion, or, if they have been asked, their feedback has never been acted on (at least never acted upon in a way that is visible to them).

Has anyone ever gone to them and said "Nice job. You really made a difference today."? Do you know how much further a well-deserved pat on the back goes compared to just throwing money (incentive, bonus, award) at them?

When was the last time someone told you that you did a fantastic job that really made a difference....and how did that make you feel?

I'm willing to bet everything that I am that when you heard that, you were more than motivated to get your butt into the office the next day to do it again.

If morale is low, if attitudes are wrong...how will money make a difference? Last year, we all had investments and retirement accounts. Now that money has vanished. Where did it go? Who had it? Who has it? Was it ever really real?

But riddle me this...over the past 12 months, have you had occasion to feel spectacular about one of your accomplishments? Despite the fact that your retirement/savings/house value was eroding out from under you? (Since Open To has scored a new job in this economy, I'm willing to bet that was one of those spectacular feel moments.)

If you want to change attitudes, change loyalties, create a dynamic and motivated workforce...ask them what they need to get 'r done. Dig for the root cause of the angst, and take steps to change the culture. Undoubtedly money will be part of the feedback that you receive. But I bet you find that overwhelmingly, it is not the root.

Good luck.

Author jjonesworkproject
#4 | Posted: 4 Apr 2009 19:28 
I agree with Karen, money is not a motivator. it's how people feel at the end of the day. And whether they are excited to get up the next day and go to work. I found working with people, instead of having them work for you ,works better. Working with people side by side, creates a bond, knowing what their challenges are in every position in your company, and then gradually by listening improve their working day by using their suggestions and letting them know they are valued. I know sometimes it's hard to listen, but that's why god gave us two ears and one mouth. To listen twice as much as we talk.

Author 1dscott
#5 | Posted: 9 Apr 2009 08:28 
I joined the same situation and found that just treating them like adults as opposed to workers is really doing the trick. The quote that I came up with for them to show them my support and dedication is "My job is not to tell you how to do your job, my job is to make sure that you have what you need to do your job" - "The first responsibility of the leader is to define reality, the last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant." these have shown them that I care about them and support what they do. It has made a world of difference. The FISH story is also a great motivator. Choose your attitude, don't let it be chosen for you.

Author TheCustomerServiceModel
#6 | Posted: 10 Apr 2009 18:46 
1dscott has the answer...treating employees like adults, respecting their abilities, saying thanking you, providing support, and being a resource is the answer. Also, the hardest learned lesson for me was to show employees that I care. It wasn't that I didn't care, I just felt that to really care, you had to really get to know the employee, which meant getting in their business - so to speak. So, in the interest of respecting their privacy, I maintained a comfortable distance and alienated them in the process. Now I know.

It will take time for employees to accept the fact that you're genuine and begin to trust you. Be patient and be persistent.


Author hungwe
#7 | Posted: 19 May 2009 07:14 
IDScott and all contributors,

I have benefited greatly from all the inputs from members. I am also in a similar situation but the answers are all tabled in your responses. Thank you.

AJ Hungwe

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 Changing our Customer Service Focus

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