Role of the Customer Service Manager: Motivating People

Team motivation talk

One of the key roles of the Customer Service Manager is to motivate his or her staff. This article aims to help you become a better motivator!

To ensure customer service employees deliver positive customer interactions they must be motivated to do so. Demotivated, unhappy team members will not be at their best when dealing with customers and may result in a negative experience for the customer.

Although it may be a difficult task to motivate an individual person, it is possible for the Customer Service Manager to create an environment where motivation can flourish.

Most Customer Service Managers learn by hard (and sometimes bitter!) experience what does and does not motivate their team. That said it’s worth looking at some motivational theories as well.

One of the most respected theories of motivation was created by the eminent psychologist, Abraham Maslow. Maslow’s theory was called “The Hierarchy of Needs”.

Simply put, Maslow believed that every one of us is trying to fulfil our own needs, and is motivated to do so in a hierarchical order.

Here is a brief summary:

1st need: Physiological: Basic needs such as food, water and shelter. At work this could mean a salary that pays enough to live on.

2nd need: Safety and Security: Feeling safe and secure, physically and mentally. At work this could mean job security, pension and safe working conditions.

3rd need: Social: A sense of belonging and social interaction. At work this could mean being part of a team and taking part in social activities.

4th need: Esteem: Recognition from others. At work this could mean promotion, praise or winning awards.

5th need: Self-actualization: Fulfilling one’s potential. At work this could mean stretching one’s role or meeting new challenges.

Another noted psychologist, Frederick Herzberg expanded on Maslow’s theory with his Motivator-Hygiene theory (also known as the two factor theory). Herzberg stated that there were two key factors that influenced motivation:

1. Hygiene factors like pay and benefits – primarily the cause of dissatisfaction

2. Motivational factors like job fulfilment, recognition and growth – primarily the cause of satisfaction

What this suggests is the things that motivate people are not only the tangible ones, such as pay (which are often take for granted as “deserved”) but intangibles such as encouragement, recognition and status.

Whatever method of motivation you use in your role as Customer Service Manager it is important that it is fully supported by your organization and is complimented with actions not just words.

Happy motivating!

About the Author

Ian Miller is Editor of Customer Service Manager Magazine – the leading resource and community for customer service professionals.

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