All over the web, you can find articles detailing tricks to engage and improve sales staff, marketers, middle managers, and more. However, when it comes to those employees who have the grueling job of keeping customers happy, the literature is few and far between.
Most companies assume that customer service workers are naturally sociable and inspired to help those they serve, but the fact is this department can get as burnt out as any other. Unfortunately, when these employees fail to provide adequate service, your business’s brand suffers tremendously. To ensure that never happens, you should try some of the following strategies for stimulating your customer service staff.
Foster Belief in Your Brand
Would you rather work for Coca-Cola or Faygo? Would you rather work for Heinz or Hunts? In customer service especially, workers tend to closely associate themselves with their employer’s products. People want to be proud of the product they help support, so the first step to growing pride in your employees is producing a product worthy of that pride.
A customer service team that constantly fields complains and returns will undoubtedly feel demoralized as customers berate them for the product they represent. You should put pressure on product development teams to never settle for “good enough” if you want your customer service team to stay engaged.
Stress the Value of Customer Service
Customer service is vital to any organization. Good customer service builds brand awareness, builds a good reputation, and builds customer trust. In many cases, customers opt for companies with celebrated customer service over those with lower prices. You know this, but does your team know?
It doesn’t take much experience or education to be an excellent customer service provider, which may convince many of your team that they aren’t particularly valuable to the company ― when this could not be farther from the truth. You must help your team understand the importance of their job, perhaps by bringing in a customer service expert like Jim Donald to educate them. Once they recognize their use, they will become more engaged with every customer interaction to do their employer good.
Provide Power to Your Team
When you are dissatisfied by a product’s price, you know better than to complain to a store’s cashier, who likely has no power to alter pricing. Unfortunately, your company’s customers might still badger your customer service team with complaints, and like that poor cashier, they probably can’t do anything to assuage your customer’s negative feelings ― unless you give them some authority.
You can grant your team the power to provide gifts, like free shipping or special discounts. By doing so, you are encouraging them to become invested in what is right and wrong for customers, which helps them diffuse frustration and build lasting relationships.
Allow Friendly Competitions
Customer service representatives must be cooperative, but a competitive spirit is good, too. According to a bevy of scientific studies, humans are naturally competitive, which means you can engage your customer service team by setting certain goals ― regardless of whether or not you pay your workers for achieving them.
While you should strive to foster a competitive spirit that translates to enhanced productivity, not all of your workplace competitions need to be so serious or business-related. For example, you might schedule regular athletics activities, like a bowling day or a softball game against sales. Individual competitions and team competitions are equally important; in the former, you boost self-esteem, and in the latter, your customer service department grows together as one. As long as no one gets hurt, you always win.
Appreciate Everyone Individually
It is always easier to notice something that is wrong than something that is right, and in the workplace, this usually manifests as an overabundance of criticism with few complements. Yet, if you were put down more often than you were built up, would you feel inspired or engaged?
Time and again, studies find that praise and recognition are more effective than physical rewards (or punishment, for that matter). However, it isn’t enough to congratulate your customer service team when their aggregate reviews are good. Instead, you should single out employees for good behavior, appreciating them for specific situations. Then, the entire group will work harder in pursuit of your special recognition.
About the Author
Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the World Wide Web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable. When not researching, editing or submitting content you can find her doing Yoga, photography, D.I.Y crafting and dog training.