Tuesday, January 3, 2012

5 Ways to Keep Customer Service Representatives Motivated

Employee motivation and loyalty is important in any position, but for those tasked with representing a company to its customers, it takes on extra significance. Customer service representatives who feel invested in the company they work for and the products they represent will inevitably provide superior service than those unhappy in their position. As individuals commit themselves to resolutions for the coming year, take the opportunity to encourage improvements in your customer service department. Consider these 5 ways to keep customer service representatives motivated.

1. Hold Weekly Staff Meetings for Feedback
Effective communication is one of the most important facets of running any successful business. Weekly meetings afford both representatives and managers the opportunity to address any concerns that arise week to week and provide relevant feedback. As the main point of contact for customers, the customer service department is the first to hear about any problems or suggestions for products. By making sure this feedback is heard and passed on to the product development staff, these meetings can serve to improve products, keep customers happy and make the job of your customer service reps that much easier. It also lets staff know their contribution to the company is valued.

2. Encourage a Positive Work Environment
A pleasant workplace means less risk of dissatisfaction and high turnover. When the customer service staff is happy in their work, this lends itself to how they interact with customers. Give positive feedback whenever it’s earned and make sure any negative feedback is carefully worded to be constructive rather than disparaging. Pay attention to conflicts amongst the staff and step in before they have the chance to influence the larger environment, setting up a meeting with HR or a sit down with the staff members to encourage communication. Find little ways to reward the staff, such as donuts in the office once a week, or monthly company lunches or happy hours.

3. Set Goals and Recognize the Staff Members Who Accomplish Them
Mojo Helpdesk makes it easy to track the time it takes to resolve customer inquiries and lets customers provide ratings to representatives for how an issue is handled. Find a way to honor or reward those with the best results or greatest improvement over time. Having something tangible to work towards, such as a bonus, gift card, or displayed list of top rated employees each month, can be a powerful motivator.

4. Offer Upward Mobility
There’s little incentive for employees to work hard and stay with a company long term if they don’t expect opportunities for upward mobility. The best customer service representatives know the company’s products well and care about the larger success of the business; a state that is best achieved by ensuring that employees see their own success as aligned with that of the company. Showing long-term loyalty and providing a consistently good performance should lead to promotions and raises—skimping on this will lead to the loss of your best staff members to competitors.

5. Give Representatives Freedom to Make Decisions
Encouraging consistency in business can be valuable, but becomes constraining when taken too far. Don’t micromanage. Allow for some flexibility and creativity in how representatives handle customer service inquires, as long as they stick to general guidelines and trust their instincts. Something as simple as staff upgrading shipping for free due to an order error can enable your staff to quickly solve a customer’s issue and shorten call times, saving money in the long run. There also might be some truly great ideas to come out of giving staff the room to make their own decisions.

A company that makes a priority of providing a positive work environment and motivation to its employees will quickly gain a reputation as such. This can positively impact the company from an internal perspective, but also in regards to the company’s customers. People like to do business with companies who have a good reputation for taking care of their staff. In addition to improving conditions for your current customer service representatives, these tips can help your business to attract and keep high quality employees moving forward.

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