5 Keys to a Winning Customer Service Team

customer_service_buildingCulture was a popular buzzword at this year’s annual Call Center Week and Marc Bernica, VP Contact Center & Back-up Care Advantage, at Bright Horizons Family Solutions had a few tips on creating a company culture that helps drive customer satisfaction and creates empowered, engaged contact center agents.

Here’s five key customer service takeaways from the session.

Ease up on Regulations and Empower Employees

Bernica notes that too often, we regulate everything in a contact center. There’s two major issues with this strict regulation; 1) you can’t anticipate everything, no matter how hard you try and 2) it’s not very empowering for employees. Empowering employees with a strong, well defined company culture can be a reassuring development for management. The best managers can’t be everywhere, and can’t make every decision. Your company culture provides a compass for real-time decision making. Remember, your contact center will have a culture, with or without your involvement.

Your Common Mission or Purpose Has to be Important

One of Bright Horizon’s core values is communicating the value of what their employees are contributing to the overall mission of the company.

Bernica notes the importance of framing jobs in a way that employees can be proud of them, in order to accomplish that, ask three questions:

  • How does this role contribute to our success?
  • How do you help people?
  • What can you do better than anyone else?

When your service agents are asked what they do for a living, do they say they are a customer service representative? That they “talk on the phone all day”? Or do they say “I help people with _________.” That’s the ideal response you want to see your agents providing. Your employees need to know they are making a real difference for your customers, and they aren’t just a collection of metrics and numbers.

Metrics Matter Because What You Do Matters

Metrics are a part of contact center life, but when approaching metrics, focus on the why. Contact center managers never met a metric they didn’t like, to be sure. But when everything is a number, employees often feel like just another cog in the wheel. The metrics are not the important stuff, it’s the context around the metrics.

Employees need to know why they are striving for quicker handle times, or a better monitoring score. Metrics in this case must absolutely tie back to your core mission.

Engagement Requires Give and Take

Bernica discussed input as a key shaper of company culture. It’s not as simple as asking for input, however, it’s about doing something with it. His team actively solicits input, actively asking for employee opinions, through focus groups or surveys. Once they get it, they make certain to acknowledge it. They may not use every idea but acknowledging their employees’ feedback is crucial, even if it’s to explain why they won’t be using it.

Finally, whenever possible, take action on input received. Crucially, this step isn’t just leadership’s job, it’s everyone’s. Fully empowered employees who care about the company mission will gladly help implement change across the organization, working in tandem with management. Bright Horizons has several employee-led groups focusing on everything from customer experience, to improving the work environment in their offices.

People Matter: Hire for Culture Fit

Many have the skills, fewer have the attitude. The right culture fit is what get’s you hired. It’s worth keeping customer facing positions open a bit longer to find the right person who better fits the company culture rather than rushing to fill available positions. The long-term cost of hiring the wrong person can be much greater than keeping those spots unfilled. Your hiring teams need to take ownership and communicate your company culture from the first interview to ensure the right candidates are found.

NOTE: A version of this post originally appeared at blogs.salesforce.com.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s