How to Motivate your Customer Service Team and Uplift Employee Morale
Customer service reps are the frontline employees who represent your brand/company and interact directly with the customers. The work of customer support reps is challenging because they have to be people-pleasers all the time – pacify customers when they are upset, and also keep their chin high all the while. Creating the best experience for your customers builds long term customer relationships and paves the way for the success of your business. It is important for the company and also the leaders to understand the importance of customer experience and instill it in their work culture.
With the pandemic and people forced to shift to remote work, it’s understandably even tougher for customer service teams to stay motivated every day. The work is so overwhelming and also mentally taxing and there’s a lot to lose on the line. But customer service can be a very fulfilling job if you have customer service motivation blended with your organization’s culture. A good customer service experience begins with your support reps and it goes a long way in creating loyal customers and in boosting customer satisfaction. Here is a short guide for your business to keep your customer service agents happy and rejuvenated with their work.
1. Promote two-way communication
Communication is always a two-way street. It is important to integrate open internal communication as a part of the work culture for the success of a business. This is all the more crucial when it comes to customer support teams. Encouraging your customer service reps to share their opinions and concerns will make them feel valued. While business goals are important, it is also important for the managers to communicate with their customer service teams and understand their goals, both professional and personal. This will motivate them to perform better leading to customer satisfaction.
Keeping the management doors open to listen to your customer service reps will also provide you a clear picture of the issues your customers are facing. The management can work together with their teams to provide the best solutions to their customers.
2. Empower the agents with the right tools
Having the right support tools will help increase your agent productivity and will also motivate your customer service teams to perform better. While there are many tools available for customer support, it is important to choose one that complements and not complicates the workflow of your support team. A good chat support software like Freshchat can delight your customers and also keep things light on your agent’s plate. It enables you to view and respond to queries from different channels including Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and more from a single window without having to switch between tabs. Furthermore, with Freshchat IntelliAssign, you can automatically assign support tickets to agents based on their load and skills.
Also with remote work and the pandemic, the support tickets are on a surge more than ever. Deploying a chatbot will further ease up things on your agent’s workload. Chatbots can provide 24/7 support to your customers without having to make your agents work round the clock. AI-powered chatbots like Freddy can solve common queries by suggesting the right solution articles thus leaving only the complex issues for your agents.
3. Reward and Appreciate your support reps
Humans thrive on appreciation for each other and it is a cornerstone of employee motivation in general. In customer support, appreciation is the #1 driving force for motivation and workplace happiness.
And praising employees is not just about the token appreciation that you jot down on the back of appreciation cards. It is about specifically calling out employees on their achievements and telling their stories to the world on the special deed they did to wow customers. Identify ways to appreciate support staff in your business; launch a ‘customer hero of the month’ program, call out best-performing employees in your all-hands meetings, or give them a badge to recognize their good work, and so on.
Freshworks goes the extra mile to put a smile on their customer support reps. This year, we celebrated Customer Service Week by appreciating and featuring our best-performing support reps on our social media platforms. We also sent out gift hampers to those support reps. This effort wasn’t limited only to Freshworks support reps but was also extended towards a few partner businesses.
4. Identify what motivates your team
Motivating customer service teams is more easily said than done. What works for one employee might not work for the other. So it is important to understand what motivates each one of your customer service employees. This can be done by conducting surveys and also by holding monthly/quarterly/half-yearly brainstorming sessions with your support reps.
Your job doesn’t end with just collecting their surveys and feedback but in bringing it to action. While all the responses may not be easy to implement, make sure you implement the ones you believe are of the highest priority while ensuring all feedback is accounted for overtime.
5. Regulate workload and set realistic goals
Though you are armed with tools, the productivity of your support reps lies in striking the right balance in distributing the support tickets between your reps. If an agent is offered more support queries than he/she can handle, it might lead to burnout which can cost your organization and your employee. With Freshchat IntelliAssign, you can automatically assign support tickets to agents based on their load and skills. This prevents your employees from having to manually pick up support tickets at regular intervals and also helps your manager keep track of what their team is working on. Moreover, setting goals that are achievable and realistic is an important part of motivating your customer service employees. This will also help the employees prioritize their work and help them stay motivated. While it is important to achieve goals, it is important that you foster friendly competition among your customer service representatives. This will help in team-building and also boost employee engagement.
6. Share customer appreciation
The job of a customer support rep is to solve customer queries meaning at most times customers reach your support to complain. They handle customer grievances throughout their work shift. But when a support rep goes the extra mile to solve an issue, there are instances where the customers share positive feedback and praise the support rep for their efforts. Bring this to the attention of your team and share customer feedback/praises within your organization. For example, at Freshworks, we feature customer praises on our internal communication platform.
These praises are shared for each of the Freshworks products in the Hall of Fame. This will motivate the employee to work harder which in turn will increase agent productivity.
7. Create a happy work environment
Be it work from home or work from the office, creating a happy work environment should be a part of your company culture. If you truly want to motivate your customer support team to excel at their jobs, cater generously to their comforts first. Several businesses incentivize their customer support teams based on attractive perks and benefits, but there’s more to employee motivation than monetary rewards. For instance, you can create a great working environment by helping your employees feel physically great about themselves. Make sure they have comfortable seats, enough natural light in the room, good air-conditioning, a relaxing break-room with a functional coffee machine, and plenty of snacks, extra headsets, etc.
At Freshworks, we keep several potted plants across all departments and a vertical garden wall between hallways to allow natural air to filter into our workspace. Furthermore, having nap rooms for people to take a siesta from their hectic schedule and prevent them from collapsing after they firefight a customer problem or when they need to burn the midnight oil.
This does not end just with the office. Freshworks is committed to creating a happy work environment/culture even during remote work. It offers monetary allowances to purchase ergonomic chairs, monitors, desks, and more to set up a comfortable home office. It also offers an internet allowance to enable employees to get access to high-speed internet. Additionally, Freshworks also offers allowances for physical/mental counseling sessions to help employees maintain a sound mind and body.
Do unto your support reps as you would have them do unto your customers
If you want your support reps to provide the best support to your customers, then you should do the same to your support agents. The happier your customer reps are, the better they will serve your customers, earning you customers-for-life.
This blog was created in July 2018 and has been updated for relevance on 8th, December 2020.
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