Leaders: Do You Treat Your Customer Service Reps Like Adults?
by Kate Nasser |
In customer service organizations and technical IT (information technology) customer service teams, I see a lingering trend of leaders treating front line customer service reps, global service desk agents, and technical support analysts like children.
Selfless, professional caring is an adult emotion and behavior yet managers treat reps as children who need to be monitored, controlled, scored, and highly directed.
Key Question on Engaging Customer Service Reps:
Do you score your reps performance or do they first review their customer interactions and note the improvements they will make?
If they first assess their performance, you are treating your customer service reps and IT global service desk analysts like adults. You engage in dialogue with them and brainstorm interaction improvements. You are treating them as valued employees entrusted with the weighty responsibility of customer service.
Bravo! They own both the concept and the delivery of customer care. When you engage them in self-assessment, they will engage the customers with spirit and skill.
The result will far exceed that of the directive parental approach in other call centers, BPO contact centers, and IT front line service desks. Businesses with highly engaged employees experience five times the success of other organizations for the employees have a voice in their responsibilities and a personal stake in the results of their performance.
Engage front line reps like trusted adults:
- Give them access to professional customer service training so that their self-assessments will be based on high quality standards. If their assessments miss the mark completely, you will have both your experience and professional standards to teach and coach them.
- Allow them to give feedback to each other as team members working toward the shared goal of outstanding customer service.
- Engage them to increase the standards they will reach. You will be amazed at how high they will set the bar.
- Tap them for front line service improvement ideas while you as leader take on the bigger challenges of breaking down silos and process barriers to outstanding customer service. The reps and front line team leaders are rich with insights from working with the customers.
Interestingly, initial self-assessment in performance reviews has been the standard for over 20 years with professional jobs in organizations. Yet on the front line of customer service, the model is parent/child.
The very traditional “leaders judging the reps” approach is a non-starter for today’s customer care.
To ask employees to suggest customer service improvements requires that leaders first ask the reps to assess their current performance and valuable improvements. Excellence is achieved through mutual assessment, dialogue, and shared ownership based on respect and trust.
Employee engagement in customer service is overdue yet never too late. I’ve worked with thousands and would be pleased to work with all of you to engage their talents with ownership and a true stake in the outcome.
What winning customer service employee engagement steps have you taken that you will share with us in the comments section below?
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Engage Employees Through Their Entrepreneurial Spirit
©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish 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.