The job of a customer service representative often goes underappreciated. In many cases, interactions with customers involve complaints or issues, rather than praise for services rendered. As a result, it’s easy for your customer service team to lose motivation and confidence. Fortunately, there are several solutions that can break this cycle of negativity and inspire your team to continue growing and improving. Finding ways to increase your team’s motivation can have important effects on both the workplace environment as well as customer satisfaction. To help you get started, here are 10 easy strategies for increasing motivation within your customer service team.
1. Understand what motivates each team member.
The first step to motivating the members of your team is to understand exactly what it is that drives them individually. Just like with customers, no two customer service representatives are exactly alike. Each member of your team has a unique personality and approach to customer interaction. Likewise, every team member has an idea of what motivates them on the job. Sitting down one-on-one can help you get a sense of how best to inspire each employee, and eventually the team as a whole.
2. Provide opportunities for growth.
Often, the greatest motivation in the workplace is the opportunity for promotion. Many employees want to know that they are working towards something, such as a higher position or a raise. In customer service, this usually involves creating positions for employees to move up into like Lead Customer Service Representative or Team Supervisor. Whatever the position is, it is important that your employees are aware of the opportunities available to them. With these opportunities, they understand how their performance can lead to valuable growth and impact their position in the company.
3. Encourage friendly competition.
Harnessing the competitive nature of your employees can be another effective motivational tactic. An easy approach is to create a prize for the most positive reviews received or customers helped by the end of the month. When you make a simple game like this, it breaks up any monotony and provides an instant incentive for the team. This approach is also great for team building, as it can bring your employees closer together and bolster their team spirit. However, it is vital that the competition does not negatively impact the work environment. To avoid this, make sure to emphasize the overall goal, which is to boost efficiency and customer satisfaction.
4. Get in on the action.
There is no better way to understand your team than to dive into the trenches. Sitting in on customer phone calls or conducting some yourself can give you an up-close idea of how the team is functioning. This approach is also a great way to show solidarity, so your employees know you understand the challenges they are dealing with. Armed with this knowledge, you can brainstorm ways to improve operations and increase both customer and employee happiness.
5. Host regular refreshers and training sessions.
Another way to boost employee motivation is to invest in your team’s professional development. As your company’s products and services evolve, so do your customers. With this in mind, it is important to keep developing customer service techniques to find the best and fastest solutions. When you provide training sessions for your customer service reps, it shows you believe in their work and want to see them grow. As a result, your employees are more likely to invest in their own development as well.
6. Brighten up the workspace.
It generally goes without saying, but a dull workspace is not very conducive to inspiration and motivation. Since your team spends a lot of time at work, it is important to create a work environment that is both inviting and comfortable. This can involve using colorful paint on the walls or interesting décor, as well as providing regular wellness activities. Sitting at a desk and computer all day can be draining for anyone. In response to this, wellness workshops for activities like stretching and yoga can increase stimulation and get your employees’ creative juices flowing.
7. Encourage creativity.
Customers are people just like anyone else, and this means there isn’t one general answer to handling their questions or concerns. Unfortunately, many customer service representatives are instructed to handle unhappy customers with a specific script. Rather than creating a rigid set of rules like this, allow your employees to exercise some creativity with each situation. This may lead to a new approach that improves overall customer satisfaction and give your employees extra confidence when dealing with tough customers.
8. Show the team members that their voices matter.
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip. On top of encouraging your team’s creativity, it is also important to listen to those ideas they pop up. When you allow your employees to contribute ideas, it makes them feel like an asset to the team. Employees who feel involved are more likely to take pride in their positions and work harder as a result. This further fosters team spirit and improvements to overall growth and performance. Whether you have an open-door policy or involve them in brainstorming sessions, your employees will appreciate the opportunity to be heard.
9. Celebrate achievements.
Whether it is with rewards or a simple letter of thanks, it’s important to show your employees that you appreciate all of their hard work. Studies show that a bit of gratitude goes a long way then it comes to employee fulfillment and happiness. You can celebrate your team’s achievements in a variety of ways, such as creating an employee of the month program and holding regular team meetings. Try to celebrate individual success as well as team achievements to make sure each employee feels appreciated.
10. Share customer appreciation.
Customer service is a tough industry. Most of the time, customers are calling to express a concern or file a complaint. As such, it’s a good idea to remind your team regularly of why their job is so important. Occasionally, customers will provide positive feedback if the representative they speak with is particularly kind or helpful. Sharing this positive feedback with your team members helps them see how their work impacts the customers’ lives and makes a difference. It also motivates them to work a little harder for the customers, in the hopes that it will lead to more positive results.