5 Ways to Motivate De-motivated Customer Service Staff


5 Ways to Motivate De-motivated Customer Service Staff

Often I am contacted by frustrated small business owners who are seeking help to motivate their customer service staff. When I dig a bit deeper, the employers often tell me they hired people they felt had the skills and the enthusiasm for providing excellent service and in the first few weeks or months of them commencing, they did provide great service.

But then slowly the new and excited employee’s “care-factor” for providing consistently great service diminished and their own needs started to replace that of the customers.

If you are in this place or you are worried it could happen, below are the 5 things you can do to re-ignite (or keep bright) the customer service excellence light in your team.

1. Be clear on what you expect

Too many times business owners tell me they expected that staff would use their common sense when it comes to service excellence.  This is fraught with danger; common sense isn’t common when it comes to customer service and expecting staff to have “good manners” is also asking for trouble.

Staff need guidelines. Be pro-active and put time aside to create your own specific customer service standards and yes, write them down.

2. Talk to your staff

Once you have written your standards, to confirm your staff understand them and have the skills to implement them, you must talk to your staff – preferably face to face. These people are who your customers interact with, they can make or break your business so you must make time for individual customer service skills discussions.

Hearing you speak about your customer service standards will confirm to them how important the standards are and how much value they (the staff) have in your business.

3. Ask staff what they need

Nothing motivates an employee more than being empowered to find their own solutions. Once they are clear on what the standards, ask them what would stop them from achieving them consistently and what they would need to remove that stop sign. Let them share their limitations and write those down.

Writing limitations on paper or a whiteboard with a column for solutions, shows that you intend to help them solve the problem. Encourage the team to help each other with any limitations.

4. Consider outsourcing the solution

Well of course I would say that, I’m a customer service specialist trainer. But, there’s many reasons why you should consider engaging external training support. Whether it’s the soft skills (people skills) of the role that an employee needs help with or the hard skills (technical skills), do you really have the time and skills to train staff?

Do you understand adult learning styles, customer expectations, what motivates people to learn and how to adjust your training to suit each staff member? If you do, great but if not, get an expert for expert results or you could be wasting time; yours and your staffs.

5. Step back and let them try

Often small business owners feel they have to have all the answers. It can be difficult to stop micro-managing everything in your business especially considering you had to do that to get to the point where you could grow and hire staff, but micro managing your employees can destroy their confidence.

Make it OK for staff to make mistakes – it really is a powerful learning tool. Give them feedback on customer interactions that were carried out well and help staff review the ones that could have been better. Build their confidence by telling them you know they will do better, next time.

Final Note: When creating your customer service standards, be specific and most importantly, ask your customers for input. After all, it’s your customers who determine if your business provides excellent service, not you and not your staff.

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