Customer Service Managers, Are You Leading? #custserv
by Kate Nasser |
Customer Service Managers: Inspiring Improves Results
After consulting and training customer service managers and teams for 25 years, I can most surely say that inspiration and leadership improve results.
Conversely, customer service managers and team leaders who focus mostly on management witness demoralized teams with higher levels of attrition.
In other words, humdrum teams with less than spirited performance hurt the business. This bleeds onto customers who then feel disregarded and disrespected.
Customer service managers and team leaders, you have much on your plate. This intensity sometimes brings you to apply your operational focus to leading teams. How will you know? You will find you speak to the teams mostly about processes, metrics, and adherence to procedures. This approach may breed obedience; it does not inspire teams to create great results with customers.
Customer Service Managers: You Can Inspire & Lead!
- We succeed with engaged, committed employees.
- We succeed with employees who understand how they are essential to success.
- We succeed through employee talents not robotics.
- Success requires leadership, inspiration, employee engagement, recognition, and appreciation.
Actions to Inspire & Engage
- Start every day/shift with a caring call to action for great service. Ask team members to share what inspires them. Involve them in the daily kickoff. As the famed Zig Ziglar always said, inspiration is like bathing — you have to do it every day.
- Engage employees ideas, talents, insights, and thoughts. If you want caring commitment for the customer, find it IN your employees. Don’t lay it ON them.
- Highlight and appreciate employee talents with specific note. Here are 12 Worthy Kudos to Spark Employee Engagement.
- Encourage team member collaboration. Call centers are notorious for monitoring every agent’s move and blocking them from interacting with other agents. Customer service managers claim it’s to keep the call queue moving. Yet this chain gang approach breeds high levels of turnover as the agents try to break free from the chain gang! Engage them to own the queue and keep it moving. That’s inspired!
- Discuss metrics FIRST as a whole measure of the organization’s success. After that, and only after that, inspire team members to contribute to that whole. Invite their ideas on how they will balance each other to prevent huge sways in the total metrics. Ask them to set an improvement goal for themselves and how they will measure it! This is an engaged inspired implementation of metrics. (When customer service managers use metrics mostly as a stick for individual performance, the team members often feel like lab rats or rats in a maze.)
Actions that Lead
- Lead with inspiration even if your leader is not giving that to you. Many managers with a directive boss model the boss’ behavior. Big mistake with customer service teams. The closer you get to the front line of service, the more you must use an inspirational leadership style!
- Be the model of inspired collaboration yet still make decisions when necessary. Employee engagement doesn’t mean that all decisions are made through consensus. Discuss the difference between collaboration and consensus with the teams. Team members can engage even if they don’t get to make all the decisions.
- Address bad attitudes. As the team engages, a team member with a lackluster uncaring attitude is a drain on them all. Some teams will address this team member, others won’t. Nevertheless, it is important that you let the employee know that the attitude is not acceptable. A Great Employee Attitude is Essential, Not Negotiable. In customer service work, great attitudes are a requirement. With guidance from your HR department, write job descriptions that detail actions and attitudes that breed customer service team success. Many job descriptions do not and the result is disastrous.
- Develop your leadership skills. Customer service managers and front line team leaders — your direct impact on team members and customer service is tremendous. Don’t let your title define you. Think of yourself as inspired leader. Read leadership articles and blogs. Explore inspirational books that develop your self-awareness. Ask for leadership training. If your title is “supervisor”, lobby to have it changed to something that expresses the quality of inspiring and leading the team(s).
- Be ready for surprises. I remember clearly one customer service workshop where I asked all participants to go to the boards and write down everything they liked about working with people. One rep went up and wrote, “I hate people.” As we discussed everything on the boards, I asked about that item. He jumped up and said, “I wrote that. I hate working with people.” The customer service manager turned red. At break he said to me, “Oh no. Now what?” I said, speak with him tomorrow about the type of work he wants to do. He is clearly not interested in caring for customers and chose this venue to declare it!
A culture of customer service excellence and great customer reviews emerge from inspired leadership that engages teams to high levels of caring and commitment. It takes daily doses of inspiration and modeling at the front line leadership level.
The manager’s and team leaders’ ability to lead not just manage, quality customer service training for all, and team desire and skill combine to deliver the trifecta of customer service success for the business.
If you would like information on my new inspirational customer service leadership workshop for front line customer service managers and team leaders, please email me. I can even give you quick tips to get you started on better engagement.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Leaders, Engage Employee Urgency w/ Deep Connection
16 Employee Idea Killers You As Managers May Be Committing on Brainzooming Blog.
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©2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.