Snap your fingers, and Friday will be here. October 5 marks the end of this year’s Customer Service Week. But, that doesn’t mean you start fresh next week with your list of priorities and go back to the norm. Use your recognition and celebrations this week as a tipping off point to shift your culture, keep agent morale high, and improve the environment in your contact center.
Your agents need you to make work better for them. Turn your contact center into a feet-hit-the-floor-fast kind of place where your agents are excited to get out of bed and come to work in the morning (most mornings, at least). Your agents need a contact center revamp, so they can scrap all the negativity and head trash to be happy and energized. No one wants to spend 47 hours of each week dragging themselves through the door (after several cups of coffee) simply because they need a paycheck.
Here are seven ways to use the momentum of Customer Service Week to improve your contact center. So, you can keep agent morale at its peak.
1. Continue those career conversations you started.
Your meaningful celebrations this week should have sparked conversations about your agents and their futures. After all, we know agents crave these types of proactive, career-driven talks. Now, go a step further and create strong, transparent promotion tracks based on what you learned about your agents’ goals and how they fit into your business strategy. Be clear with the accomplishments they need to progress, and create a rough timeline to give some perspective on when a career transition will align with the needs of your company.
2. Ask for feedback.
Start by asking your agents how they feel about your Customer Service Week line-up. See if your agents enjoyed the activities and recognition you mapped out or if you missed something they felt was important. Starting small lets agents get comfortable sharing their thoughts. Then, you can ask for critiques on larger topics, like how you coach and manage. It’s important to seek pointers on your own performance, so your team members know their voice and opinion matters to you. Encourage and directly ask for feedback, or you’ll have plenty of agents who feel like they’re not in a position to speak up. When you ask for new viewpoints, you’ll learn a ton about how to be a better coach, too.
3. Connect agents to your company’s larger cause.
Just like you rallied behind the meaning of Customer Service Week, aim to reignite the spark that made your agents sign on with your company. Emphasize the reason behind your work, so agents know there’s more to their jobs than just hitting numbers every month.
Your agents need to feel connected to a sense of purpose behind your company. They need to know why they come to work each day and why your company keeps its doors open. What does success look like to your company? And how do their roles impact that success?
4. Encourage breaks AND vacations.
That extra few hours of downtime you manage to squeeze in for Customer Service Week is fantastic, sure. But, check in to make sure agents use their vacation time. And taking their lunch breaks regularly. Your agents have one, crazy-stressful job. If they don’t have time to replenish, your customers will be handed a negative experience. And, if metrics are stressed over the humanity of your agents, they’ll feel that breaks and the occasional long lunch aren’t an option. Let alone ever use a day of vacation time. Let your agents know that you support their need for rejuvenation and you WANT them to take breaks. Go beyond just saying you’re “okay” if they use a vacation day here and there. Actively express how important it is to take a few steps back from work. Your lack of expression can be interpreted as silent shaming for going to visit a family member or taking a weekend trip to a neighboring city. Don’t leave room for this misinterpretation – be clear about what’s allowed and necessary.
5. Allow time for volunteer days.
Even if your agents are obsessed with their jobs, everyone has interests they want to pursue outside of work. But, more often than not, people don’t have the time or energy after an incredibly long, mentally taxing work-week to pursue these interests. Leave room in your contact center calendar for volunteerism. It will spark your agents’ intrinsic motivators, so they can do something they’re passionate about. Giving agents the opportunity to volunteer and ignite their passions creates a team filled with loyal company advocates. In fact, 85 percent of people are likely to stay with a company longer if the company is socially responsible.
6. Implement better training and professional development opportunities.
Give your agents access to micro-learning lessons and consistent coaching so they can continue to improve their skill sets. Use in-line training to create impactful, contextual learning moments for each of your agents. Coach in-the-moment, so agents can easily connect feedback to specific interactions, highs, and lows. Go beyond in-the-moment coaching, too. Consider trying events like lunch and learns and a speaker series to bring new perspective and insight to your team. Expand your development offerings, so each of your agents can find training that works for them. Everyone learns and absorbs information differently. Experiment with your coaching methods to reach and resonate with more of your agents.
7. Communicate goals and priorities to your agents.
Frequent, transparent communication is how you build trust with your agents and succeed as a team. Your agents need helpful tips and continuous updates about your company to help them meet their goals and adjust their priorities accordingly. Only 12 percent of workers say their managers help them set priorities, leaving 88 percent of workers with a lack of direction. It’s important to give your team wiggle room to reach goals and help customers. But ultimately, you need to guide them towards the “musts” and the “maybes” when they’re planning their regular tasks. In the age of connectivity, there are hundreds of channels and tools you can use to communicate more effectively and efficiently with your team. Plus, more frequent communication on your end will empower agents to improve their communication with you, other superiors, and co-workers, too.
These tips will help you keep the positive vibes of Customer Service Week going strong, even after your dedicated celebrations end. Find more coaching methods that can improve the way you and your agents work. Check out our blog post with 10 methods to get you there!