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.
Cyborgs Are the Future for Advisors
Becoming cyborgs is the way to go for financial advisers…blending robotics and humans into one organism.
You see, I am convinced that robo-advice models will succeed and prosper.
I am also convinced that human advisers will succeed and prosper.
I am further convinced that some of each will fail entirely and die, but in Darwinian fashion the most adaptable will survive and prosper. Smart financial advisers will work out how to become cyborgs and build an offering which is a blend of human and machine – or at least their practice will.
Despite the fear-mongering when it comes to robo’s the reality is that there are many great arguments for automated transaction systems, or robotic product delivery. Cost reduction for the consumer, cost reduction for the practitioner….efficiency, speed, convenience for all….elimination of the frustrating and time consuming service model supplied by the industry to low value transactional customers….and let’s be bluntly honest: some people DO just need a product solution at some stages of their life, and DO NOT need holistic advice at some points.
Robo-advice makes sense commercially, and it can meet a need in life stages planning for many consumers. It also happens to appeal to a segment of society who are happy to make their own decisions and transact from the comfort of their pyjamas during the ads in their evening television program, and who are unlikely to engage in full advice. It is worth remembering that this last type of consumer segment is growing at the expense of the traditional intermediated product delivery systems of distribution.
However, machines do not “manage” relationships and behaviour – humans manage humans. Humans tend to rebel against the concept (or slightest inference actually) that they are being manipulated or are at the mercy of computers and machines. Machines and automated systems exist for our convenience, don’t they? Nobody wants a “SkyNet”.
……So the human adviser remains in the equation……
When we strip out all the industry jargon and hyperbole the primary function of a financial adviser is to manage clients behaviour. We don’t really manage their money – other people do the actual money management. We don’t supply products….we source them from a supplier. What we do is manage their behaviour and expectations. We coach them. Machines don’t do that yet….and when they are able to (and they will be), most consumers will shy away from being managed by a machine.
But we cannot escape those arguments supporting robo-offerings as they make too much sense for clients and for us. In fact I suspect robo-advice will be a very good thing for smart adviser practices.
Believe it or not, I believe robo-offerings can help us get clients.
For most consumers there is a period early in life when their financial advice needs are fairly basic, and also there is a period later in life where all the planning has been done and consumers are moving into “drawdown” territory. In between those times, life gets somewhat busier and complexity increases substantially.
Advice delivered by humans should be focussed upon the complexity phase. Apart from the fact that this is the period of a consumers life when there are the most variables to consider in their planning needs, it is also the phase where behaviour management is a distinct help to the achievement of the consumers goals and objectives. Generally people will only do uncomfortable or new things if they have a high degree of trust and confidence in the person guiding them to do so, and establishing that level of trust – or the bond between two people – is where robo-offerings will struggle to compete.
However, when it comes to identifying a fairly simple need which has a product solution then robo’s will certainly be able to deliver a solution more cost effectively and faster than the human adviser can, who is bound by increasing complexity of their own called “compliance” every time they have to interact with another human being.
The smart adviser will identify those areas of their clients lives and those product solutions which work well for those times and find a transactional solution for their clients to access. They will build that transactional, no-advice, solution into the service offering that their practice puts into the market. In other words they will embrace and incorporate robo-offerings into their business model.
Not just because consumers want them or need them, and not just because it is cost effective to do so. Not even because we’d like to have a commercial revenue stream which sidesteps the more time-consuming (and therefore labour intensive and expensive) compliance requirements.
The reason smart advisers will do it is because it will help gather the next generation of clients for the firm before the complexity triggers drive them to seek advice elsewhere.
The robo-advice solution caters to those who have an identifiable need for financial services of one sort or another, but who do not yet need holistic bespoke planning. It is an entry point for consumers to become customers of the firm, and for the firm to then work upon converting those transactional customers into advised clients for the future.
Robotics are a part of our world and our future. We need to figure out how to make them a part of our business too, but in such a way that our business uses the robo’s, rather than being used by them. Humans and robo’s integrated into the same service business in order to deliver they type of solutions and assistance that consumers and customers and clients want at different stages of their life.
The future for the financial advisory practice is cyborgs.
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