The role of customer service manager means keeping both customers and employees happy. Having the right educational background and skills is a good start. But learning about your team and what makes them more effective is a priority. These suggestions will get you moving in the right direction to building an award-winning customer service team that consistently keeps their customers raving positively about them.
Observe and Listen
Your approach to managing the team depends on the environment. You’ll need to take time to watch your team and listen to how they handle customer concerns. ConnectWise says to pay particular attention to the workflow of customer calls. How are they handled by the person taking the call? When and how do they get routed to someone else for help? What changes can you make to the workflow to make sure the customer call is handled efficiently?
For example, giving your team access to inventory query functions will reduce the number of times customers get forwarded to someone else who can check on stock. Streamlining your workflow can mean adding steps or reducing them to handle a call better.
Managing Staff Stress
Perhaps the number one trait that you’ll bring to the customer service area is patience. Besides watching for how well the customer is being managed, be on the lookout for how your staff handles the stress of difficult calls. When you see your staff reacting to stress, especially after a string of difficult customer calls, it’s time you give them some tools to practice patience.
You probably learned something about managing workplace stress when you obtained your business degree. If you need to brush up, online business management courses from a school such as Penn Foster are an excellent source of the skills you – and your employees – need to thrive. Many techniques you have learned or will learn can be applied by your team when handling challenging calls, suggests Future Simple, including:
- Putting the customer on hold and taking a few deep breaths
- Visualizing the customer’s anger being directed at some other entity, not them personally
- Knowing when to transfer the call to their manager for follow up
Your staff will feel more supported by you when they know you empathize with the level of stress they can experience handling customer calls. Giving them skills that they can use to help with the stress strengthens your team even more.
Show Staff Appreciation
Knowing how to motivate your team is a crucial management skill. Personal recognition by the manager goes a long way to building a solid team. Recognition can come in the form of team activities or may be directed to an individual, says Zen Desk. A combination of both is important to maintaining morale in your area.
Sponsor a team lunch at the office and have someone come and talk about customer service trends and techniques. Or use the time to read notes of customer praise for the team’s efforts. Foster two-way communication and solicit discussion about changes in the department that can make the customer service job more efficient and enjoyable.
Reward individuals for their extra effort with a note of thanks and a gift card. Give comp time as a reward to the high-achievers on your team. Offering a new tablet or noise-canceling headphones to individuals who exceed their metrics can be motivating. Reward innovation, initiative and thinking out of the box.
About the Author
Marissa Clark is a business consultant, tech geek and sci-fi fanatic from New York.