Customer service representatives (CSRs) take calls, keep customers happy , rinse and repeat. They don’t ever get to decide who does what or what goes where, they are detached from the main management of the company. Because of that , it’s inevitable that there’s a certain degree of distance between them and the company. It doesn’t help matters either, that their job isn’t exactly a bed of roses. Irate customers are no joke.
We’ve all come across that grumpy CSR who seems to be making a game of how quick he can end each call, or the impatient lady who just can’t wait long enough to hear us out. Chances are these people aren’t feeling like they belong at all. CSRs need to feel like their work is significant for them to take pride in it. Even with a juicy paycheck and cushy benefits, there’s just that elusive something missing from the equation that translates into less-than-epic performance, a ‘Chemical X’ that empowers them.
So what is that Chemical X? It is none other then a sense of ownership and belonging. That is the magic ingredient that transforms normal employees into Superman. Having a stake in the company links them to its futures. That’s when they start feeling for the company and caring about it’s growth. This encourages them to do more, to take that extra step.
Only CSRs who care about the company will be willing to spend 30 minutes on a call with a customer, trying their polite best to find out what’s wrong, only to rush out later to solve the problem in midday heat. Only CSRs who feel like they belong, will stay on after office hours to chat with a repeat customer instead of cutting her off. And, only CSRs who know that their work means a great deal to the company will be able to wow customers with a sincerity that comes from within.
Acknowledging their presence counts will give them a great sense of belonging, especially in a huge company with thousands of other employees. John Lewis, British online retailer, knows this all too well. All their employees are “partners” in the company, they get a profit share based on profit the business generates. This makes for stellar customer service because CSRs feel a sense of ownership, and so are motivated to do the best they can. They are motivated with the right incentives and are working to the right goal.
We all need to learn to give and take. In this case, giving to your CSRs might mean receiving more from them in terms of work attitude. It’s a small tradeoff in the long run – empower them to make important decisions; give them something to work for by incentivizing the right actions. In exchange you may just receive dedication and an unsurpassed level of customer service.
At Zopim, we believe in training our support team well and treating our staff right and because of that our support constantly exceed our expectations. Do your CSRs feel like they belong? Do you get the most out of your team? Only you know the answer. Hang on for Part 3 – the importance of having a face and name. In the mean time, we would like to hear about how you motivate your CSRs. Leave us a comment to let us know!