Every customer support manager needs to be able to trust the members of their team. In order to do so, your team need to show that they’re capable of delivering results without feeling burnt out, unmotivated or frustrated.
If they are, you’re not supporting them right, and you’ll inevitably start to notice poor performance and potentially lose some great team members in the process.
Here’s five ways to help avoid this:
1. Hire the right people
Hiring the right people who not only match the skills and personality required to support your customers, but, that fit in well with the team you already have is tough.
But having a good team means having a successful, happy team. This means having each member surrounded by people who can help inspire them every single day.
Jim Rohn said it better:
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Spend time with your team to help understand what gets them inspired to work hard.
Make note of the moments that get them motivated, and use these things to help tailor the questions you ask in your interviews. You’ll be able to make a confident decision between two people much easier because of it.
2. Join the frontline
One of the most common complaints I hear from agents who work through a queue of support requests, is that the management team above them don’t actually understand the challenges they face each day.
And, while the manager may not feel their time is best spent working within that queue, it’s a good idea to always keep on top of the questions that are received and have more of an understanding to what’s happening there.
I see too many customer support managers who are disconnected from the frontline queue and are too busy analysing the data behind it.
In a previous role leading a support team, I made sure I was spending time joining my team in answering questions that needed actioning in the queue. Not only does this help your team by boosting morale, but it helps you understand the common problems they face every day.
Those questions your manager asks about why certain numbers were worse off than the last week seem a little easier to answer now!
3. Get prepared
Holding individual meetings with your team is a great way to understand any challenges that they may be facing. It’s also an opportunity for you to deliver feedback on how they’ve been performing so that your team members have a clear path to walk down.
To deliver that feedback, you need to be prepared with clear data and clear examples of what you’re pointing out.
Spend time during the week looking at your team’s responses, especially the ones that catch your eye when looking at the numbers. Note down any trends you spot across multiple tickets and use these examples to help coach your team with customer service training activities so they know exactly what to focus on in their next reply to a customer.
4. Share the cliff notes now, the novel later
Your team need to know when new features or changes are introduced to the product, but how they receive that information is essential.
Ensure you are in control of the information that’s passed to them from the rest of the company (but allow and encourage them to reach out to others should they need to). If some of the information is overloaded with things that don’t apply to them, the essential information will be missed or overlooked.
It’s still important for you to hold the rest of the information, in case any of these questions come up. But, dilute the important stuff that your team need to know, into a simple digest that they can read while making a cup of coffee.
In addition, select a member of your team to also read the information in full. This helps prevent you from becoming the bottleneck of your team. Empower your team to work together without having to always reach out to you, this means you’ll have more time to focus on the things that need your attention.
5. Fight smart
Fighting for your team is more than just how loud people can hear your voice, and it’s not just the sales manager who gets to dictate why a product bug needs to be fixed immediately.
It’s your job to listen to your team on what customers are saying and what problems are causing your customers to feel frustrated. Then, you need to support your team by fighting for the things that will have a positive impact on those problems.
The trust gained and the difference fighting for your team makes to boosting morale is too significant to just ignore.
I’m not saying to push for every planned feature on the roadmap that a couple of customers have reached out about. Simply, look out for common pain points that you hear from your team about the same thing, note it down and ask your team to count these up too.
If you think the problem has become too much of an obvious sign that something needs to be changed or fixed, don’t just wait for the next product meeting.
Make it easy for the development team by looking at the features or bugs that they’re working on next–does anything relate to what you need? If so, contact the developer handling it and ask if it can be added.
By doing this, you’re making it easy for everyone to fix a problem that your team consider to be a huge problem.
The voice of your company is the same voice of your customer support team. The very same people advocate your product every day and help customers use it in the way it was intended.
Making your customer support team feel supported and feel they have the resource they need to deliver the results you want, now seems even more important, doesn’t it?