Thursday, February 2, 2017

6 Ways to Motivate and Inspire Your Customer Service Team?

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock/Robert Kneschke
Today I'm pleased to share a guest post by Elena Lockett with FM Outsource.

People are motivated by very different things. Money, personal achievements, or workplace goals – it differs person to person. To ensure your customer service (CS) teams remain motivated, whatever gets thrown at them, you need to make sure you are providing them with the inspiration and tools to do their job well and be happy!

Motivating your employees not only keeps them in a good place, it positively affects your customers, too. If you want your customers to see your business in a positive light, your employees need to shine it.

But why is this motivation so important? If your employees have goals of their own, both inside and outside of the company, shouldn’t they already motivate themselves? You can’t rely on that assumption when your employees are directly conversing with old and new customers; they could truly be the difference between customers walking away or making a purchase. It’s worth both the time and money to properly invest in motivating all members of your team.

How do you go about motivating your customer service team then? Here are our top six ways to inspire your employees:

1. Provide learning opportunities
We all like to learn and grow as part of our day-to-day lives, so providing training opportunities to further an employee’s development is beneficial in many ways. Training means better service to your customers and helps your employees feel more confident in the service they're providing. It will also ensure that they can deal with their customers' queries to a high standard. These learning opportunities should focus both on company policies and on how to deal with customers, so you don’t end up with employees who have excellent knowledge but lack in other areas. Make sure to help employees who are falling behind in certain skill sets; by giving them opportunities, you’re showing you believe in them.

Not only should you help your employees learn, you should also try to learn from their knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and to ask them to be brutally honest. You, as a company, could be completely unaware of a huge issue that is only affecting your frontline team; if no one tells you, you won’t ever improve upon it.

2. Understand what motivates them
As I said earlier, not everyone is motivated by the same goal. You need to understand what motivates your teams and, honestly, each individual employee. Whether it be an extra day’s holiday, a potential promotion, gift cards for favourite retailers, or even the knowledge that they’ll get their monthly working lunch paid for, it’s important to know what will work best.

Don’t just rely on asking them outright for these motivators, as some people may become embarrassed or awkward when talking about something so personal. Send out surveys or questionnaires, or hold brainstorming sessions to allow all your employees to add their two cents.

3. Create a strong, creative, working environment
If you enjoy going to work every day, you bring a more positive attitude to the workplace. By giving your workplace a strong, corporate environment, it helps both you, as a business, and your employee understand how you can both benefit.

A good way to create these atmospheres within your business is to hold regular brainstorms to promote creativity and the sharing of ideas between employees. They're interacting with your customers every day and will be able to provide useful insight.

If the environment your employees are working in day-to-day is stressful, they may convey this back to any customers they're dealing with. This can both negatively affect their performance and the customer’s experience of the business. Ensure you create a happy, easy-going environment (at appropriate times), so your employees feel comfortable and can do their jobs to their best.

4. Constantly reevaluate your company's attitude
Tone of voice inside a business is incredibly important; it conveys who you are and what you believe in, and it creates a solid brand identity. This can be disrupted by certain attitudes displayed by employees, especially if that attitude is negative. For example, if your employees come to work and are automatically talked-down-to and made to feel unimportant, they may no longer feel confident in the work they’re doing.

5. Encourage friendly competition
We all know the thrill of entering a competition, and that thrill increases if it’s against people you know. Setting up some friendly (we don't want any falling out) competition between team members can give them a little more motivation. This will not only increase individual performance but also improve performance across the team.

You could even set goals for employees to reach as a team if you don’t want to encourage competition between team members. This will mean they’ll work together to reach that goal and help each other out if someone is falling behind.

6. Have a little fun too!
Creating a fun, joyful workplace will help your employees relax and feel at ease while they’re working. It also helps your business connect to your employees on a more personal front, so they feel included. Arrange family days, themed events in office, fundraising activities, and much more to keep the joy in your workplace.

There are so many ways to keep your employees motivated in a CS environment, some which require lots of time and money, while others can be as simple as not bringing a negative attitude with you when you go to work every day. It’s unfair to expect employees to be responsible for all their own motivation, so give them goals to help them achieve. It'll pay off for both your business and your employees.

Elena is a Marketing Assistant at FM Outsource. She is constantly looking for press opportunities for the business, whether it be entering awards, attending events, or getting FM featured in relevant articles online and in print.

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