The Secret to Motivating Your Customer Service Team
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.
Alternative Beta Strategies: Alpha/Beta Separation Comes to Hedge Funds
Written by: Yazann Romahi, Chief Investment Officer of Quantitative Beta Strategies, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
A quiet revolution is taking place in the alternatives world. The idea of alpha/beta separation has finally made its way from traditional to alternative investing. This development brings with it a more transparent, liquid and cost-effective approach to accessing the “alternative beta” component of hedge fund return and a new means for benchmarking hedge fund managers.
The good news for investors is that the separation of hedge fund return into its components—rules-based alternative beta and active manager alpha—has the potential to shift investing as we know it. These advancements could democratize hedge funds and, at long last, make what are essentially hedge fund strategies available to all investors—even those who aren’t willing to hand over the hefty fees often associated with hedge fund investing.
A benchmark for alternatives
With respect to traditional equity investing, we have long accepted the idea that there is a market return, or beta—but this hasn’t always been the case. Investors used to assume that to make money in the stock markets, one needed to buy the right stocks and avoid the wrong ones. The idea of a market return independent of skilled stock selection seemed ridiculous to most market participants. Yet today, we would never invest in an active manager’s strategy without benchmarking it against its respective beta.
Interestingly, hedge fund managers have been held to a different standard. Investors have been much more willing to accept the notion that hedge fund strategy returns are pure alpha, and that their investment returns are based entirely on the skill of the fund manager. That notion explains why investors have been willing to accept a “two and twenty” fee structure just to access what has been perceived as one of the most sophisticated and powerful investment vehicles available.
In thinking about the concept of beta, consider its precise definition—the return achievable by taking on a systematic exposure to an economically compensated risk. In traditional long only equity investing, the traditional market beta has been further refined as a number of other risks have been identified that are commonly referred to as “strategic beta.” These include factors such as value, momentum, quality and size. But no one ever said that these risk factors must be long-only.
Over the past decade, as more hedge fund data became available, academics began to disaggregate hedge fund return into two components: compensation for a systematic exposure to a long/short type of risk (alternative beta), and an unexplained “manager alpha.” What they found is that a significant portion of hedge fund return can be attributed to alternative beta. That fact has turned the tables on how we look at hedge fund return. With the introduction of the alternative beta concept, hedge fund managers will have to state their results, not just in terms of total return, but also as excess return over an alternative beta benchmark.
Merger arbitrage—an alternative beta example
The merger arbitrage hedge fund style can be used to illustrate the alternative beta concept. In the case of merger arbitrage, the beta strategy would be the systematic process of going long every target company, while shorting its acquirer. There is an inherent return to this strategy because the target stock price typically does not immediately rise to the offer price upon the deal’s announcement. This creates an opportunity to purchase the stock at a discount prior to the deal’s completion. The premium that remains is compensation to the investor for bearing the risk that the deal may fail.
Active merger arbitrage managers can add value by choosing to invest in some deals while avoiding others. Therefore, their benchmark should be the “enter every deal” strategy, not cash. In fact, the beta strategy explains the majority of the return to the average merger arbitrage hedge fund. And it doesn’t stop there. Other hedge fund styles that can be explained using alternative beta include equity long/short, global macro, and event driven. Note that the beta strategy invests in the same securities, using the same long/short techniques as the hedge fund strategy. The difference is that the beta strategy is a rules-based version that can become the benchmark for the hedge fund strategy. After all, if a hedge fund strategy cannot beat its respective rules-based benchmark (net of fees), an investor may be wiser to stick to the beta strategy.
Implications for investors
What does all this mean for the end investor? Hedge funds have traditionally been the domain of sophisticated investors willing to pay high fees and sacrifice liquidity. Alpha/beta separation in the hedge fund world means that investors can finally choose whether to buy the active version of the hedge fund strategy or opt for the passive (beta) version. Hedge fund strategies can be effective portfolio diversifiers. Now, through alternative beta, virtually all investors can access what are essentially hedge fund strategies in a low cost, liquid, and fully transparent form. For investors who haven’t had prior access to hedge funds, this could be welcome news. Not only can investors look at an active hedge fund manager’s strategy and determine how it has done compared to the systematic beta equivalent, they can also invest in ETFs that encapsulate these systematic strategies.
When looking at one’s traditional balanced portfolio today, there are plenty of questions around whether the fixed income portion will achieve the same level of diversification it has provided in the past. After all, with yields still low, there is little income return. Additionally, the capital gains that came from interest rate declines are likely to reverse. With fixed income unlikely to adequately fulfill its traditional role in portfolios, there is a need to find an alternative source of diversification. This is where alternative strategies may help. For investors seeking to access diversifying strategies in liquid and low-cost vehicles, alternative beta strategies in ETF form are one option.
Looking for an alternative to enhance diversification in your portfolio?
For investors looking to further diversify their overall portfolio, JPMorgan Diversified Alternatives ETF (JPHF) seeks to increase diversification and reduce overall portfolio volatility through direct, diversified exposure to hedge fund strategies using a bottom-up, rules-based approach.
Learn more about JPHF and J.P. Morgan’s suite of ETFs here.
Call 1-844-4JPM-ETF or visit www.jpmorganetfs.com to obtain a prospectus. Carefully consider the investment objectives and risks as well as charges and expenses of the ETF before investing. The summary and full prospectuses contain this and other information about the ETF. Read them carefully before investing.
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