CSM Website

The Forum for Customer Service Managers & Professionals
 | Forum Start | Register | Search | Statistics | F.A.Q. |
Who's Who Customer Service Manager Forum / Who's Who /  

Building a Customer Service Team from scratch

Author jeanette
#1 | Posted: 3 Jan 2007 10:30 
I have been given the opportunity to start the first customer service department in the history of my company. I have the background to know what it takes to service customer, and my star employee. Now all I need are the basic goals to set for each rep.

Author cedennis
#2 | Posted: 9 Jan 2007 07:08 
Hi Jeanette,

You have been given a GREAT opportunity, provided that your company's senior management is willing to stand behind its product / service offerings. I mention this caveat, because the most enthusiastic, well-trained service team in the world will struggle if they get bogged down by "company policies" and tedious procedures, designed to ensure that nobody "gets away" with anything.

However, let's assume that you work for an enlightened company, who really wants to provide the best possible service for its customers. (Just the thought of that brightens up my day!)

Start with the hiring of staff. Hire for enthusiasm and inclination to assist others, over industry knowledge (which can be learned easily enough). People with industry knowledge and experience may provide more immediate help to customers in the short term, but they may be jaded, and think they already know the answers to all the customer's problems without hearing the customer out. You want a team of caring individuals more than a team of know-it-alls.

Next, align your team's goals with the company's goals (and let's hope that the company's goals are aligned with the customers' goals!). Then align the team's compensation to those goals. People do what they are paid to do, quite simply. Don't throw in metrics like keeping average time of call under three minutes unless that is of primary importance to the customer. If problem resolution is the team's primary function, but management would also like them to upsell whenever possible, make sure the team is compensated for the upselling as much as the problem resolution. Something like upselling will not be done in a rep's "spare time." But it will be done if they are compensated for it. Trust me on this one.

Another basic goal is coverage. As manager, you need to identify the busiest times, and ensure that you have sufifcient coverage during those periods. You must insist on promptness and preparation from your team - and again, this should be tied to their compensation. Paying people for doing a half-baked job is basically encouraging them to do a half-baked job.

I could go on for hours with other suggestions, as this is what I do as a customer service consultant. But I am sure that other folks here will have some good suggestions for you, as well. If I can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me!

Best of luck to you!

Chuck Dennis
Angry Customer Specialist
Knowledgence Associates

Author nonos232
#3 | Posted: 17 Jan 2007 20:32 
Hi Jeanette

Great question, i am in exactly the same position as you and am in the process of hiring staff.

I love your post Chuck, very enlightening and would love to have more advice. Like Jeanette, I also have one star employee who will basically be my eyes and ears as well - someone i can trust.

Would like to know more about training up staff (facing) in retail and also on the phones (inbound). I would be very interested and grateful for any advice provided.


Who's Who Customer Service Manager Forum / Who's Who /
 Building a Customer Service Team from scratch

Your Reply Click this icon to move up to the quoted message


Only registered users are allowed to post here. Please, enter your username/password details upon posting a message, or register first.