Customer service reps are some of the least engaged workers out there. There are various reasons why reps might “phone it in” (no pun intended), much of which might relate to burnout and fatigue. Most new reps start out excited to help others and do a great job, but after a few months that initial enthusiasm buzz goes away.
It’s up to management to keep that enthusiasm alive, especially since 76 per cent of customers say service is the true test of how much they are valued by a company.
How do you keep your service agents motivated to help customers each and every day? Try these six strategies.
Customer service agents are your first line of defense against unhappy customers. One of the most important things you can do is use your intimate knowledge of customer feedback to help your company develop a better product. With better products and services come happier customers. It’s part of design thinking, which is one of the best strategies for creating a customer-centric business and products.
Customers don’t just call in to chat; they call in to complain. They call in with problems. Day in and day out, reps deal with customers who need help, at least at the start of a service ticket. Usually, the only place you’ll find customer praise is in a feedback survey after an interaction with your staff is over.
Study after study, however, proves that knowing how one’s actions help other people improves productivity — perhaps up to 7 per cent. That’s worth a few seconds of acknowledgement. The next time you get wind of customer praise, share it freely with the agent who earned it. In fact, share it with your whole staff at a shift meeting, or post it on a bulletin board for all to see. It will make the praised agent feel good about being able to affect real change, and will inspire others to do the same.
Surveys suggest that 62 per cent of customer service workers feel that management is approachable and keeps them informed about important issues. That’s a two-way street. Whether it’s updates to products and procedures or how the department fits into the overall goals of the company, sharing information with your staff is critical to their success.
Leaving your proverbial door open for any concerns your agents have can help you, too. They can provide valuable front-line insights that management may not have access to because they don’t work closely with customers each day. Together, you and your team can use that information to stay ahead of issues and remain motivated to help.
Every worker, no matter their department, wants to feel like they have the opportunity to grow and earn promotions. Your service reps are no different. Make the effort to teach your staff new skills, help them work on mastering old ones, and teach them how to improve performance. It’s a win-win-win: for you, your reps, and your customers.
Offer your customer service reps opportunities and guidance for growth. Set your company apart and fight against employee dissatisfaction. Today, turnovers in customer service are around 24 per cent. With proactive management, you can keep attrition low and your reps happy.
Keeping an eye on your service analytics is important, but focusing only on your stats, including average handle times and FCR rates, won’t give you the entire picture. You absolutely need to stay on top of the numbers, but not at the cost of turning your agents into clock-watching, script-reading automatons. Not only will customers appreciate personalized responses and relaxed call times, but your reps will also feel empowered to do better.
Empower your team to respond to customer issues in ways that make sense and actually achieve the goal of happy customers. Your employees will take more responsibility for their roles in the company and see healthier metrics, and you won’t have to spend your day micromanaging them.
Make sure your service department has the budget and tools, including fast computers, cloud-based software with information at their fingertips, and comfortable headsets, to succeed on the front lines of customer satisfaction. When your customer service reps feel empowered, appreciated, and capable, they’re happier and ready to help your customers.
Looking for more tools and strategies to keep your agents motivated to help? Download our free ebook, “Personalized, Smarter, Faster: How the Smart Agent Console Can Transform Your Customer Service.”