For most businesses, the customer service teams are the frontline in establishing brand loyalty. The level of customer service they deliver has a direct impact on the overall experience you customers will have, which oftentimes determines whether your customer will keep coming back or forget your brand forever. Therefore, it’s important to keep customer service teams motivated so they can consistently deliver positive experiences to your customers.
Your responsibility as manager is to find ways to boost your customer service team’s morale and keep them engaged in their work. But how does one accomplish this? Especially in an industry that is predisposed to high turnover and monotonous work?
Three drivers of motivation
A good place to start is by reviewing the three drivers of intrinsic motivation at work by Daniel Pink, which reveals what motivates individuals internally. Pink's research states that once the basic financial needs of the employee are met, people are much more motivated by intrinsic elements. Therefore, focusing on intrinsic motivators will help keep employees more engaged long-term.
Pink identifies three drivers of intrinsic motivation, which are: autonomy, mastery and purpose. As manager, you can tap into these three drivers to motivate your customer service team and strengthen their engagement with their work long-term.
One of the reasons why it can be difficult to keep agents engaged is because they are often given very little freedom of how they can execute their tasks and responsibilities. Although guidelines are necessary to keep a contact center running smoothly, giving your agents the tools to make more complex decisions without escalating them to the supervisor every time can give them a stronger sense of autonomy and control over their work. One way to do this is to give agents a limit of credit to use as a last resort when handling more complex customer issues. Doing so empowers agents to problem solve on their own, making them feel more valued and respected as an employee.
As humans, we naturally want to get better at the things we spend time doing. It gives us satisfaction and a sense of achievement. In a contact centers, a lot of the work agents do can be repetitive, therefore, it can be difficult for agents to feel they are improving or growing. In addition to combating the inevitable repetetive work of a customer service agent, because agents use the same tools everyday - having slow or inefficient tools can become quite frustrating for an agent too.
As manager, providing your agents with frequent (monthly or bi-monthly) training session to expand their knowledge and skills can help them accomplish a stronger sense of mastery. Making sure agents know how to use new systems or newly released features can provide them with the opportunity to keep learning and become more effective as an agent.
Lastly, make sure your team has the tools necessary to execute their job and perform to the best of their ability. Having a slow computer or poor customer service software can be extremly demotivating for an agent, especially in an industry where seconds matter for performance stats. Giving them powerful tools can make their jobs easier and will likely translate into improved performance and customer service.
Pink's researchreveals that people ultimately want to do things that matter and in the service of something "largery than ones self." Customer service agents actually do make a difference in the lives of customers every day by helping resolve customer issues, making their lives easier.
Remind your customer service team that the work they are doing contributes to the overall success of the company. Have team members share positive customer stories regularly at team meetings. Doing so can help show them how valuable they are to the organization, giving them a stronger sense of purpose.
A motivated team leads to consistent customer service
Ultimately, finding ways to keep your team engaged and motivated will result in a lower churn rate and better performance. Since there are aspects of being a customer service agent that make it difficult to stay motivated, finding ways to motivate agents from within is extremely valuable. Some of these drivers will work better for certain individuals than others, so take note on what each team member reacts the best to.
Motivating your customer service team is a critical part in providing a consistently positive customer experience. Agents represent your company to your customers, so they must always be giving their best effort in whatever they say or do.
These tips should help you in determining the best strategy to keep your customer service teams motivated and engaged.