The Struggle Is Real
Customer facing roles can be extremely exhausting, hard work and frustrating at times. Customer facing teams are in constant demand and under a considerable amount of pressure every day. COVID19 has added an extra layer of pressure as customers face challenging circumstances, reduced household incomes and a general feeling of uncertainty.
With all that said, it’s important to provide wonderful customer experiences during challenging times. As a leader, it’s your job to influence and guide your team to produce exceptional service standards.
Here are some practical measures you can put into place to accomplish this goal.
Monday blues are an actual thing – you know that feeling of dread mixed with anxiety sprinkled with a bit of doubt. Sometimes on Monday, the urge to call in sick stretches out an invitation reminding us of our warm bed, hot chocolate and a Disney movie…. Don’t judge me, we’ve all had those thoughts!
So how do you influence your team to get over the Monday blues?
It’s simple, motivate them with a mini team meeting. The best time to have the meeting is after your whole team has been in the office or virtual office for an hour. This gives your team time to shrug off the weekend and settle in.
The goal of the meeting is to bring positivity, encouragement and yup you guessed it – motivation.
During the meeting, remind your team about why you do what you do and tell them how important they are. You can also go over performance from the previous week but make this part of the conversation rather than the sole focus.
Share stories of good customer service delivered by team members from the previous week and positive customer feedback if you have any.
Customer Service Systems
If you want the best customer service performance, you must set up systems to measure and improve how your team are doing.
Customers should have a way to provide feedback about each interaction they have with your team members. As a leader, you should also observe your team members once a month to assess how they are interacting with customers. Assessments can be live observations, or you may want to read email threads or listen to previous calls they’ve had.
Be sure to take notes and put together constructive feedback with action points for improvement.
Keep The Score
Use the data from customer feedback and your own observations to rate each team member. You can use a five-star system where each employee is given a mark out of 5 stars once a month. Alternatively, you could use a percentage system giving each employee a customer satisfaction percentage.
Scoring each employee provides them with a true reflection of how well they’re serving your customers. It will also motivate your team to improve by providing some healthy competition. Aim to get all staff on 4.5 stars or 90% consistently as this will result in exceptional customer experiences.
When scoring team members, it’s important to support this with monthly review meetings where you can coach and train them.
Provide one on one coaching tailored to each team member about how they can improve their customer satisfaction scores. This level of accountability will ensure each person takes ownership of producing great customer experiences.
Always thank individuals for their hard work and encourage them to keep getting better.
In order for your staff to be on top of their CX game, they need to be technically equipped. One of the most damaging things to customer experience is a staff member not knowing how to do their job.
Ensure all employees know exactly how to carry out the standard operating procedures that occur on a day-to-day basis in their role. In addition to this, staff must be trained in soft skills such as professional communication, effective time management and dealing with frustrated customers.
If your customer service levels are below 90% for satisfaction, it’s definitely time to retrain your staff.
Here are a few key questions to ask yourself when considering what training to take your staff through:
- Are all of my team 100% competent at their day job?
- Can everyone confidently deal with a complaint?
- Does everyone know how to deal with challenging or vulnerable customers?
- Am I happy with the customer service which all of the team are providing?
As we enter a new normal, it’s a great idea to consider new challenges your team may be facing. For example, you may want to offer information and training on productively working from home and mental wellness tips.
Good customer service should be rewarded with appealing incentives. The purpose of incentives is to motivate your team. Think about some rewards you could offer for achieving high customer satisfaction scores.
Whoever scores highest for customer satisfaction each month should be crowned as CX Champion of the month (you can think of a more exciting name, maybe CX Hero or CX Rockstar? I’ll leave that part to you….). The employee should be rewarded publicly as this shows your company is focussed on customers as well as productivity and sales.
Rewards for wonderful service should be appealing and worthwhile like an afternoon off work, lunch of their choice, quality retail vouchers or some really, really good chocolate.
Choosing appealing rewards will motivate employees to strive for excellence so they can be in with a chance of winning the goods.
Ultimately, to lead a team who are consistently serving their customers excellently with joy, gratitude and a servant’s heart, aim for a culture shift. Great customer service must become as important as meeting targets, financial goals and productivity.
To cultivate a culture shift, emphasise the importance of your customers in meetings and share best practice often. Influence your team to focus as much on their customers as they do their targets. Train your team to be hardworking and efficient whilst still providing excellent customer experiences.
Over To You
Incorporate the elements mentioned above and I guarantee you’ll start to see a positive difference in customer satisfaction, team moral and customer relationships.