This is part 2 of a two part series about motivating your help desk department. Part 1 is here.
In the last blog post I talked about why a company needs to keep the morale of the customer service department high if it wants to perform well.
I also outlined five things companies can do in the short term to make sure that helpdesk employees can do their job efficiently.
However, short term fixes will only go so far. Companies will also have to take action over the mid to long term and change their corporate culture and create a different image of themselves if they want to become more customer service employee friendly.
1. Ensure career progression
Many customer service employees see their jobs in customer service as a stepping stone to different roles in the business. While this in itself is not a bad thing, most companies impose a limit on how high customer service employees can rise. Even within the department, agents don’t have a not a lot of opportunities for advancement and that’s a huge factor for loss of morale.
Having a career trajectory mapped out for helpdesk employees keeps morale high in that department.
2. Give additional responsibilities
At its best customer service is tedious work, and at its worst it is as attractive as cleaning a toilet bowl. To avoid burnout companies can put in place a system where selected employees from other departments can temporarily exchange duties with the helpdesk. That way, management can discover stellar administrative assistants in mediocre customer service agents while product designers can get customer feedback straight from the horse’s mouth.
3. Involve them in decision making
Even if you does not have any plan to move around people between the helpdesk and other departments there is no reason to isolate them from decisions that involve their jobs. Don’t leave them out of the loop, and give them an adequate heads-up along with credible explanations when you are changing policies that might result in a tsunami of customer calls.
You don’t want them to sound clueless on the phone or on a livechat when that happens.
4. Use realistic metrics and targets
Many customer service metrics which are used by companies to measure agent performance (like Cost per call) are not customer oriented. This causes unsolved customer problems resulting in agent stress which only increases when they have to fulfill unreasonable targets.
Pick metrics that impact positively upon the bigger picture- e.g., more sales, and do not burden the helpdesk with unreasonable expectations.
5. Listen to helpdesk feedback
One of the best ways of motivating your helpdesk staff is listening to their feedback and implementing their ideas. Make no mistake: because they talk to customers all day long they have some of the best ideas about where you suck and where you rock.
However, acting on sensible suggestions from frontline staff even if they go against management wisdom is pretty tough and thus this tip is both easy and difficult to implement. But if done right, it will immensely benefit the entire organization.
Share your stories about customer service best practices in the comments below.