No matter how great your product is, the one thing your customers are likely to remember is the direct interaction they have with your company. In fact, studies have found that 70 to 80% of customers are likely to stop doing business with a company because of bad customer service.
News of bad service travels more than twice as fast as praise for good service. In a recent study, 95% of respondents said they talk to others about the bad experiences they had with a brand, while only 87% shared good experiences. With word of mouth spreading like wildfire over social media, your reputation is in your customers’ hands.
Your support team is the first—and often only—point of contact your customers have with you. You can have the most skilled, efficient, and customer-friendly support staff in the world, but your business will suffer if they’re not motivated, not happy, or don’t work together well.
“The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers.”
When your customer support team feels like they are making a contribution to the success of your business, it soon translates into customer loyalty.
In short, Happy employees = Happy customers
But how do you achieve this? Let’s take a look at some practical approaches, as well as how using the right software solution—like Zoho SalesIQ—can help you achieve these goals.
1. Provide the Right Tools
Without the right tools, your team can’t work effectively. Inadequate resources will demotivate even the best employees. To create a competent customer support system, tools like customer engagement and live chat software, CRM, support desk software, and more that work well with each other need to be in place so your team can easily manage customer data and interactions.
2. Give them the freedom to solve issues on their own
It’s good for businesses to have a set of rules and processes, but beware of creating a rigid structure that would make your team feel like their hands are tied. Whenever possible, give them the leeway to solve a customer’s problem within the guidelines you’ve created. Give them the authority to find creative solutions to issues without having to approach you for every little thing. With the freedom to solve issues using their own intellect, employees are motivated to serve customers in a faster, more efficient way.
3. Talk to your team
Managers often tend to think, “My team knows I’m here if they need me.” Don’t fall into that trap.
Your employees need to have a good rapport with you to feel comfortable bringing forward problems, asking questions, or making suggestions. And that requires conversation. It doesn’t have to be in-depth, daily discussions, but it needs to be frequent. It can be as simple as scheduled weekly meetings or a quick “What’s up?” once every two or three days.
4. Balance their workload
Even a motivated workforce with access to the right tools will fall flat on its face if their workload is not correctly distributed. It’s no surprise that if you put too much weight on one pair of shoulders, they will start to stoop. This burnout will prove to be costly.
A proper balance and distribution of resources is the key here.
Zoho SalesIQ lets you set rules to automatically route incoming chats to different members of your team. You also get statistics on how many times the assigned staff has missed/forwarded a chat, the resolution time, and the number of times each rule has been triggered, all of which allows you to assess the efficiency of your routing rules.
In addition to balancing the load on your team, this also helps you improve your CSAT scores by making sure your customers are connected to the right staff without much forwarding.
5. Set clear and realistic goals
More than 60% of employees feel they waste time on low-priority work. Avoid this by setting clear, smart, and realistic goals aimed at fulfilling your business objectives. Design them to be measurable so employees feel motivated to achieve them.
6. Avoid micromanagement
Keeping an eye on how your support team functions is important, but not at the cost of looking like you’re always breathing down their necks. Instead, by choosing the right metrics to measure performance and then gamifying it, you can create some friendly competition that boosts morale and improves productivity. Leaderboards and badges are some great ways to do this.
However, it is important to pay attention to the language you use when talking about your gamification system, or this could backfire. Keep the conversation focused on individual targets rather than about being better than the others.
7. Give them credit when it’s due
Good customer service happens when efforts and results are recognized. Give people a pat on the back when they deserve it. Good feedback is vital for enhancing employee morale. Zoho SalesIQ’s internal message board gives your team a space for these shoutouts.
But feedback doesn’t always have to be positive. If they do something wrong, they need to know that too, but negative feedback is best communicated in a private conversation. You can also use a bit of encouragement to pump up disengaged employees.
8. Share customer praise
Knowing how one’s actions help other people improves productivity by up to seven percent. So, the next time you get good customer feedback, share it with the agent who earned it. In fact, share it with your whole team at a shift meeting, or post it on a bulletin board for all to see. It will make the person feel good about being able to bring about real change and will inspire others to do the same.
9. Incentivize them with customized reward programs
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to rewards and recognition. While some people like shoutouts, others prefer a quiet word of appreciation. In order to successfully incentivize and encourage your customer service team, it’s important to know what exactly motivates them. One of the best ways to do this is to conduct employee surveys or hold a brainstorming session.
10. Encourage individual growth and personal development
Give your team members the chance to focus on developing their skills. By creating a culture that nurtures employees, you instil a sense of loyalty and belonging among your team members. Make the effort to teach them new skills, help them work on mastering old ones, and offer them opportunities and guidance for growth.
11. Promote work-life balance
Work must not consume employees’ lives. Companies and managers that recognize the need for balance are increasingly attractive to workers. By introducing flexible scheduling and recognizing family needs, you can establish a basis for stronger employee satisfaction and better performance.
Zoho SalesIQ lets you set business hours for your live chat so your customers know when your team isn’t available. Visitors can still leave a message for you to follow up right back.
You can also create your own AI-powered chat bots with Zobot—our enterprise-ready bot builder—so visitors can get quick answers, or get help tracking orders or fixing appointments while your staff is away.
And, most of all,
12. Listen to what your customer service team is saying
Spend some time talking to each team member. Ask for suggestions and involve them in helping the business grow. It’s a win-win situation. You get business insights from the people who directly interact with your customers, and this will make your team happier because they’ll feel like their voices are being heard.