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Help Please!

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#1   Posted: 21 Feb 2008 15:26

Hi Everyone,

I am new to my company, hired on to manage a group of contracted employees. We are level two call center/ email support. Our customer is getting ready to do some cuts in my department. I have to write up a Account plan for my director by Tuesday I do have some available data to work with. I have never written up a Account plan and I have no idea where to even start. Any advice would be much appreciated. I have researched online. Now I'm starting to stress.

#2   Posted: 21 Feb 2008 18:36

First, take a deep breath. Then another! Don't stress...just start writing. The flow and format will take care of themselves.

What tools do you have in your back pocket? Project management? Start by writing the scope of this new project. White papers? Write an outline of the key things that need to be addressed. Are you a guru in drawing flow charts? Draw your current processes, then extrapolate what this will look like once changes have been made.

Your new-ness to the company can be a benefit for this task. You are able to approach this without any bias.

Who are the biggest accounts, and how will they now be best represented? What about the second tier of accounts, how will their needs be met? What about remaining staff, how will the increased work load be divvied up and what kinds of tools, training, resources will they need to handle the new work load? What is the minimum number of CSRs necessary to handle the work? What is the best number to do so?

My advice is simply this: start writing, formulating and planning. Start from the 10,000 foot level, then sharpen the focus to the detail level.

You can do it!

#3   Posted: 22 Feb 2008 01:52

Hello Belynda,

I'm going to answer as best as I can, based on what you have mentioned.

Now, my first question would be :- why would a customer try to reduce costs ?
Maybe they feel they are incurring more costs than they should.

So, you could probably start with creating a table that shows the current costs
incurred by your company - and also the cost being billed to your customer. Try
talking to your boss and find out what exactly the customer wants and modify your projections accordingly.

I would say the headings for your table could be the following: (1) Names of Agents (2) Number of calls handled/day (or month) (3) Cost per agent / Month (this should include salary plus incentives, if any) (4) Add other overheads
- This should give you an idea about the total monthly cost to your company for that customer.

NOw, check the monthly billing to your customer.

Then, you need to find out what exactly the customer wants - are they trying to cut costs by reducing the number of agents? or what?

I would suggest you create an excel worksheet and put in all the details there so that it would be easy for you to work on your projections.

I hope this gives you something to start with.

Good luck !

#4   Posted: 10 Apr 2008 20:39

Hi ,
I have joined new to your side, so i do not now much about you. I have become TL in dept of customer service in home loans. I want to give more knowledge to my team and motivate them. If you can please help me in this.

Thanks and best regards,

#5   Posted: 12 Apr 2008 19:26

Smita, your message is interesting. It doesn't seem like it is tied to the question at hand about how a supplier needs to position itself as a valued resource to a client in the midst of a possible budgetary cut. But that's OK, maybe the stress involved in this question created enough interest in you to bring up what is of utmost concern to you--not sure. And motivation is a topic that I like, so I will see if I can do a decent job at answering.

The first time I was put in a leadership position, it was probably based on my interest in solutions and how things need to work. (I don't REALLY know what they were thinking.) I was a good CSR (not THE best), but not always a compliant person, and I sought out different ways to handle a problem and instigated awareness into what I had found. Sometimes this resulted in criticism, sometimes this resulted in reactions that would eventually mean I should be a supervisor. I ended up a supervisor.

Then I made a series of mistakes that amounted to my misunderstanding. I "did" what I thought needed to be done instead of seeking out the resource to get it done. I thought I was helping (especially during a time of a lot of change and confusion), but I was actually creating more work for myself to handle and at the same time eliminating an opportunity for team members to reap the rewards of doing something well that I could recognize. (I inherited a sick situation all-round and could not have done much better with the relationships in place at the time, but looking back, I do see what I could have done differently as a motivator of people.)

You mentioned motivating your team, but also giving knowledge to them. And you are looking for help with this. Would you say that there is a lack of motivation? Does it seems like there is a change in the demeanor of the team since you took the position? Or are you strictly looking forward on how to ensure motivation?

Not sure where things stand, but if there is any negativity that you are encountering, then I would ask you to take a look at my above story about when I assumed a TL position. I needed to ensure there was a feeling that team members were able to provide me with facts and solutions (instead of me delivering how-to instructions), so that they felt there was a purpose to what they were doing. Do you think there are ways to create motivation through my thinking?

Something that dawned on me over time is that people do want to work for a boss, they just have to feel a purpose behind it, and sometimes they won't see the purpose if the boss doesn't speak back to the person what has been done for them, and maybe the boss has learned something new in the process, or simply recognized it. All of those count, and everybody counts.

I guess if you are looking for the best outcome on "motivation" in general, then you would want to create situations where people hear that others are recognized for what they do and that they are needed to help others (new people, etc) to replicate what they can do. There is a togetherness in that and the leader of a team relies upon people that will make an investment in it.

Does any of that do you any good?

#6   Posted: 16 Apr 2008 12:02

Its been a while. I dont know about Smita but your response has done me so good.Have learnt a lot and some of the questions i had has been answered.

#7   Posted: 16 Apr 2008 18:16

mwachirake, I'm glad I posted what I did then to what I thought was a question that was a new category on its own--and nice to find your answer! What a pleasure.

Something else that comes to my mind is that I was not always extremely interested in the people side of managing or work in general. But people change! Now it's very interesting to me. A boss can change so much, given the opportunity to spend time on it and create ways to spend more time on it. I don't usually drop names and books, as I am not one to say " the answer is in a book, go read this." But one of the books that I still leaf through sometimes is __Love Em or Lose Em__ by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans. For me, it's straightforward and can speak to different industries/contexts, and it doesn't feel like you are reading a sermon as a manager. It just says, Look, this is what an employee can be feeling and here are some examples; and what have you done when you were involved in a similar situation and could have changed that employee's experience and your company's experience for the better?

#8   Posted: 24 Apr 2008 17:17


Just want to say how delighted I am that you referenced Love 'Em or Lose 'Em!! Sharon J-E is a friend of mine, and I love the collaboration outcomes from her and Bev. If you ever get a chance to see them presenting, it's wonderful!


#9   Posted: 25 Apr 2008 17:57

Karen, I'm glad I mentioned it then :) I feel like I am in even more famous circles now, ha ha. I will browse around and see what kind of traveling they do and all that jazz, and maybe I will wind up seeing them.

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