Whether your team is dispersed, working from home or back in the office, keeping your customer operations team on course and motivated is one of the key roles of a customer service operations manager. Unmotivated agents can miss key deadlines, while not providing proper communication of potential issues that turn into poor performance that ultimately hurt your overall CX outcomes. The first step is always the hardest; recognizing that you have a big role to play in motivating the team and that you can do better to keep them engaged. Once you’ve decided to focus on further motivating the team, now you need to take actionable steps, with real results that genuinely improve overall employee happiness and engagement.
A motivated team feels valued and understands that what they do is important; they find happiness within their work and with the people they work with, but managing a team of people with different preferences and needs is easier said than done. Today we look at four ways that you can create a motivated customer operations team, allowing you to handle more customer requests, promote more creative problem solving, keep your team happy and productive, and ultimately deliver better customer experiences.
Make Space For Honest And Genuine Communication
This first point seems obvious, yet most leaders forget to do this regularly. Ask any considerate CX team leader, and they’ll tell you that it is important to remember that we are living in unprecedented times. Although many of us have adjusted to the new normal, some members of your team may still be having a harder time than others. They may be working from home having no one to talk to during the day, when what they value and miss is those casual conversations before a meeting that build a sense of belonging.
Allowing some space and time for ten minutes before a meeting, or even setting aside dedicated time to ask your team how they are doing, allows unknown grievances to be shared and problems to be surfaced and start to get resolved. You may instead find that everyone is doing okay, and then it’s time to celebrate some wins, such as whatever it is in an individual's personal life that is going well in the moment. Your team will feel valued and a better sense of belonging, walking away with more team spirit and a greater feeling of psychological safety that will help them feel excited to go to work and do a better job.
Create A Mission Statement
At times, customer operations teams can feel cut off from the bigger picture and feel less valued in their jobs. Many teams make the mistake of forgetting to create a mission statement -- something that clearly states the overall goals and responsibilities for the team and that can keep everyone on track and motivated to outperform. This helps agents to understand their role in the company and why they are a crucial part of the overall mission. Good customer experience relies on people who understand that the way in which a problem was resolved is as important as just fixing the problem itself.
For many customers, the customer operations teams (customer support, customer success, contact center agents, etc.) are their first point of contact with a company. Therefore, ensuring that the team has a clear understanding of the company’s tone of voice, goals and overall ethos is crucial. A mission statement collects that information in one place and makes it easy for anyone on the team to understand and access. A valued and happy team will provide better customer service and will naturally provide a more pleasant experience for customers dialing your call centers.
Use Team Mentoring to Decrease Average Handle Time
Simply telling team members to “hurry up” their ticket resolution times can lead to bad practices and poor customer experiences, yet some companies unintentionally do just that in their efforts to decrease Average Handle Time (AHT). This sometimes happens when customer operations teams are overwhelmed by an increase in the volume of support tickets and need to process them more quickly, or when the company is looking for ways to improve efficiency across the board and have set unattainable goals. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your AHT without reducing the quality of your customer service. These include best practices such as creating a cheat sheet to help streamline call-handling processes for more common queries, redefining standard operating procedures (SOPs) to cut out unnecessary steps, or looking carefully at the IVR to make sure customers are speaking to the right person the first time around, reducing time on hold and miscommunication.
One best practice that has helped leading companies and also has the benefit of creating more motivated teams is pairing team members with high performers who can provide mentorship. Pairing team members who are either new or are struggling with an experienced “buddy” is a great way to make your customer operations team both feel like more of a team and improve productivity. In this case, you can bring together agents with high average handle time with team members that have low average handle time so that one team member can shadow the other one, get tips, share ideas, and learn from each other. Decreased average handle time leads to increased productivity and higher customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores. The process of mentoring also helps identify potential improvements in agent workflows, while creating a greater sense of camaraderie across the team.
Understand What the Data Says About Team Motivation
Finally, as a CX or customer operations leader, you need to be able to identify what is or is not working within your team. You cannot improve what you cannot measure, so ultimately you have to truly understand what drives better engagement and outcomes. Investing in a work insights platform such as the one offered by Fin (Fin.com) allows you to see exactly how your team works across the many SaaS applications they use to do their work. Having a clear picture of who is achieving their best and who needs a little help means you can give your attention to the right people and remove roadblocks from bad processes or technology that prevents your team from staying engaged, allowing your team to perform even better. This allows managers to be more hands off for agents who are outperforming while providing more guided and thoughtful coaching to newer agents and those who can further improve.
Fin helps to recognize best practices across the team and replicate them throughout the workflows used across the organization. Fin further helps to create, analyze and implement better workflows, while benchmarking how specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) make the customer experience more streamlined. Having the right data and insights empowers managers to create, analyze and implement better SOPs to drive efficiency, quality output, and more uniform and predictable performance while reducing miscommunication and failures to comply with industry regulations. This allows leaders to be confident in the tools and processes that their team uses to get their job done so that your team can just focus on what matters the most: your customers.
Want to find out more? Read about our product today to see if Fin can help your organization better motivate and unlock the potential in your team.