If you’re a manager or business owner, delegation — especially when it comes to customer service — might be your most difficult task. The idea of giving up control is hard, leading many managers to overburden themselves with jobs that should be reserved for other employees. But while this might sound like the safe route, managing all the workload could actually hurt your customer service.
Managers who master the art of delegation are able to reduce their own workload and increase efficiency, while also helping employees grow with challenging but rewarding work. Here are a few ways great delegators spread work around for a more efficient customer service experience.
If you never give your employees responsibility, they’ll never be ready for it. You do both their job and yours, and they won’t learn how to make decisions independently.
Delegating provides a challenge for your employees and helps them grow. As Dr. Marshall Goldman notes, this is the best way for employees to develop their skills. As employees perform tasks that go beyond their basic job description, they develop new knowledge and skills.
The key is to make sure you match employees' skillsets to the tasks you’re delegating. Think about your employees' strengths and how much responsibility they can handle. If you’re unsure, ask them. A quick meeting is usually enough to learn about an employee’s comfort level with additional responsibilities.
After that initial meeting, delegate work, over time, to help continually develop employees’ skills. As your employees grow in confidence and develop into empowered customer service reps, they’ll reap the rewards of greater autonomy and career growth — and your company will reap the rewards of better-satisfied customers
As a manager with years of experience, it’s possible no one in your company understands customer service better than you. But the truth is that your employees don’t need to: Given the right tools and training, you can equip them to know what to do in the majority of situations. That’s more than enough to increase efficiency and free up your time for strategy and planning.
What you need is the right system to share knowledge within your department. Start by learning more about your department. What are your customer’s most common problems? What are the most effective ways to solve them? A customer relationship management (CRM) platform will make this research easy.
Create a knowledge base for your employees, then give them the freedom to update it as necessary. Equip them with customer service software that empowers them to act quickly on customer service issues. With your reps sharing knowledge and working together to make the department better, you may even learn something new yourself.
Even if you have great traffic to your website, 95 per cent of your visitors aren’t going to become customers. However, more could be converted if you had an easier way for visitors to get their questions answered.
Using live chat, a rep can invite visitors to chat based on their actions. Have someone dedicated to this task. If you properly delegate this important part of customer service, visitors’ questions will be answered more quickly and thoroughly. Start with one agent, and grow as your customers do. By offering real interaction through live chat, you’ll start to chip away at that 95 per cent.
There’s no rule book for healthy delegation. If there were, 46 per cent of companies wouldn’t be concerned about their employees’ delegation skills. Thankfully, there are guidelines that will help. Here are four questions to consider as you start delegating.
Make sure your goals and standards are clear. The better your employees understand the goal, the better they can use their creativity and resources to help reach it.
If you hear responses like, “Of course I can help you with this,” it’s a good sign you’re doling out tasks, instead of giving true responsibility. Let go of the wheel. Trust you’ve got the right people for the job and let them do it.
Check each employee’s progress regularly. If they get off track, steer them back without taking away the autonomy you gave them. And if you want employees to stick around, praise successes whenever possible.
Solving every problem your employees bring you isn’t real delegation. Even if you have a better idea, encourage employees to find solutions. This builds the muscle they need to become creative problem solvers.
As a manager, you’re used to taking control of the important tasks. But if you hold back on delegating to your employees, you’ll be overburdened and holding your skilled employees back. In order to maximize efficiency in customer service, give employees the tools, training, and responsibility to make their own decisions. As your delegation improves, you’ll build a culture where employees can develop their skills and prepare themselves for even more responsibility in the future.
Help your company do more for its customers with the tips in our ebook , “CRM: Put Your Customer at the Heart of Your Business.”