Why Customer Care Success Starts With the C-Suite

As the leader of a call center, your job encompasses a wide variety of tasks, not the least of which is motivating and inspiring your Communicators. Effective managers seem to do the job effortlessly, when in reality they are purposefully employing a host of skills and techniques to support their staff, which in turn increases the quality of service.

 
Good leadership is really about people—communicating with them, giving them opportunities to grow, and inspiring them to do their very best. Doing it well is challenging, but also extremely rewarding. Here are a few tips for ensuring that your own performance brings out the best in your Communicators:

 
Lead by example. Define your own standard of excellence and abide by it. Modeling the expected behavior is the number-one way to influence your Communicators to do the same. You’re also giving people a reason to believe in you, and in your ability to do the job.

Show your employees that you care about them. Telling your employees that you care about them is a good start, but your words will be more meaningful if you put them into action. Look for ways to interact with team members and start building relationships (our annual summer barbeque gives me a chance to grill my newest employees!). Putting the team first makes you a more credible leader.

Take every opportunity to coach—and to recognize excellence. These behaviors go hand-in-hand. Outside of regular training sessions, there are times when guidance or advice offered on a more personal basis is appropriate. If you notice a Communicator struggling on a call, don’t let the opportunity to offer words of advice, explain a process, or give encouragement pass. Similarly, seize the moment when you see a Communicator going above and beyond, or observe him or her capably handling a customer interaction.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

Treat Your Employees As You Treat Your Customers

When you look at the statistics surrounding poor quality of customer service and employee churn, the numbers tell a similar story: customers and employees are willing to make moves if they feel they can get better service elsewhere.

On the customer side, for example, 89 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service, according to data aggregated by Salesforce. Moreover, a customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service-related versus price- or product-related.

Your employees feel the same way about stellar treatment. In fact, 80 percent of employees believe that their relationship with their direct supervisor—in other words how they are being treated, what opportunities there are for growth, what feedback they receive, etc.—has a big impact on how happy they are with their job. What’s more, the No. 1 reason people leave their job is because of a poor relationship with their manager.

These customer and employee statistics evidence one core message: how you treat people, no matter if it’s your customers or employees, matters. Therefore, perhaps it’s time to start treating your employees with the top-notch quality of customer service you typically reserve for your long-term buyers. Here are three best practices you are most likely already leveraging with your customers that you can bring to your employees:

  • Survey Routinely: Think of how often you solicit feedback from your customers in the form of surveys, live chats and email marketing messages. You want to know what products resonate with them, what pain points they are still experiencing and what new offerings they would like to see from your company. So do the same with your employees. Whether scheduling recurring one-on-ones or holding team-wide meetings, ensure that you are fostering a culture that values employee feedback and uses such feedback to influence change.
  • Focus on Problem-Solving: Think of how your agents address customer incidents on the phone. Most likely they leverage a variety of solutions and technologies—think call scripts, presence technology and unified communications solutions—to address the problem expediently and calmly. After all, if your agents act concerned with your customers, you customers’ level of worry may rise. The same goes with your employees. As a leader in your organization, it’s imperative to remember that employees absorb your energy and motivation. Attitude and confidence trickles from the top down so as a manager focus on rectifying problems swiftly, as opposed to exacerbating issues.
  • Reward: Do you have a VIP offering for your long-term customers? Does this group, for instance, receive a specific email marketing campaign or access to promotions and discounts that don’t apply to your general buyer demographic? Most likely over the years you have found specific ways to reward your most loyal, long-term brand proponents. So reward your employees similarly. Find ways to celebrate their successes—in the form or public accolade, promotions or monetary incentives. Reward employees for their hard work to show your appreciation, much as you would show appreciation to customers who continually give you their business.

Here at InfoCision we love exploring the importance of not just delivering a high quality of customer service, but also ensuring a high level of employee service. Executives and managers have to be steadfast in their commitment to paying attention to their employees, carving fulfilling journeys for them and supporting their personal and professional milestones.

Here are a few other blogs you can check out on the subject of employee service:

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Become a Better Leader in 2015

As 2014 winds down, it’s natural to begin thinking about how you can make 2015 a better year for your business. As an executive, it’s up to you to set a positive tone and lead your employees toward success, so you want to hit the ground running. But being a leader isn’t easy; having people look to you for guidance can be nerve-wracking. So here are a few tips I’ve found helpful that may also help you in the year to come:

Listen more, talk less: Let’s face it: When you are a member of the C-suite, employees generally listen when you speak. But that doesn’t mean you should always be the one speaking or making decisions. Next year, adopt an open door policy where employees can walk into your office to discuss any issue at any time. Openness and sincerity from executive leadership goes a long way towards getting the team behind you.

Present a clear vision: Your employees want to know that you have a firm grasp on what you want the next 12 months to look like. Rather than speaking in generalities, make an effort to present specific company-wide goals and lay out the path you want your employees to take to reach those objectives. For example, if the goal is to improve your quality of customer service across the board, present a five-point plan for making that happen.

Encourage professional development: One of the most effective ways to lead is by giving employees the chance to develop new skills and shine brightly. Try not to define your workers by their job titles; instead, encourage them to come to you—or their direct supervisor—with new ideas and to take on projects that may fall beyond the scope of their job description. Some of the best initiatives are born from employees discovering skills they didn’t even realize they had.

Click here for more information about how InfoCision helps its employees enhance their own futures.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Teleservices Association (ATA). He also donates his time to serve on several University boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s higher honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.