Your customer service team consists of multiple individuals, all with their own personality, habits and approach to their job.
This diversity can make functioning as a cohesive team more difficult, especially if employees are being brought into the company with little training, evaluation or direction. Without good communication, how are workers supposed to deliver the standard of customer experience you demand?
Making your call center’s internal communications as effective as possible is fundamental to building a successful customer service team, but how can you improve yours and what options are available to help?
Why is your Call Center’s Internal Communications so Important?
First, let’s understand why focusing on your call center’s internal communications is so important.
How workers’ performance impacts colleagues
Customer service involves a number of employees at different levels: service agents, team leaders, managers and QA analysts (if you have a quality assurance program in effect, which you should).
Everyone has their own part to play in the day-to-day process of assisting customers, but nobody is an island: one person’s performance affects another’s.
- The QA analysts’ work depends on monitoring and evaluating the service agents
- The team leader’s work is based on supervising and supporting the agents beneath them
- Managers have to oversee all employees and ensure everyone’s hitting targets, fulfilling their responsibilities etc.
If one person in the customer service team is unclear on their duties and makes a mistake, this could cause repercussions for others. And that means possible disruptions, delays and oversights, all with the power to reduce the quality of your customer experience.
If you take such a lax approach to your call center’s internal communications policies, you face being counted among those businesses losing a shocking $75bn every year due to bad customer service. Your target audience is highly unlikely to stay loyal if your team seems chaotic, poorly-organized and unaware of previous interactions they may have had.
Good internal communication helps to maintain a fluid, clear working process from the top down: everyone knows their job, everyone knows how to do it and everyone understands when to ask for help.
Solid communication fosters a stronger approach to teamwork too. Employees focusing on disparate aspects of customer service will form a closer bond, enabling them to understand how their performance affects their colleagues’ working experience.
If they feel they don’t know their colleagues, employees could find it hard to actually trust them. Such doubts lead to resentment and, possibly, conflict. Needless to say, managers and team leaders will find overseeing a fractured group far more difficult than a harmonious one.
And, finally, proper communication helps to reinforce the company values and goals: the more staff know what a brand stands for, the better they can represent it.
How Should Managers Communicate with Staff?
Managers must take an active role in their call center’s internal communications: just waiting for employees to approach you with questions or issues isn’t good enough.
You have to inspire, motivate and encourage everyone to perform at their best. This stands to increase employee engagement and boost productivity by as much as 22 percent.
Simply being more available and open to workers can make a big difference. Don’t hide away in your office: get involved with service agents, work with QA agents to evaluate performance and generally be receptive to criticism.
Nobody wants to work for a manager who thinks they’re better than everyone else and is completely unapproachable. Make sure your team knows they can come to you for advice, guidance and inspiration if they’re facing difficulties.
Delivering Feedback Properly through Open Communication
One crucial aspect of a successful call center is providing feedback on performance. An ongoing quality assurance program is essential to evaluate employees’ work, incorporating service agents, team leaders, managers and even the QA analysts themselves.
Reviewing interactions, assessing productivity and other everyday elements of work provides analysts with a wealth of valuable data. Yet actually conveying findings in the correct way makes a massive difference to how it’s received — not to mention the results that may be achieved.
Feedback can be delivered either in face-to-face meetings between the employee, QA analyst and manager or team leader, though it may be more practical to use another method. The best QA software, for example, allows for real-time messaging: this is ideal to let employees know where they’re going right or wrong on the fly.
They’ll be able to incorporate guidance into their current customer interaction, providing a higher standard of service within a call or live chat.
It’s always vital to bear everyone’s feelings in mind when giving feedback (and, indeed, in all kinds of communications). Certain people may feel self-conscious about flaws in their performance, and you could alienate them entirely if you’re too blunt.
The more open communication is, the better everyone will get to know the different personalities and attitudes within the customer service team. As a result, such errors in judgement should become rarer.
Create a Communication-driven Culture
Invest time and energy into building a culture of clear, honest communication between employees at all levels. Your service agents should be chatting with managers, your QA analysts should be chatting to team leaders — aim for a friendly workforce that clicks.
You can foster this by establishing social spaces for employees to enjoy during their breaks. Add a pool table or games console. Provide snacks. Let workers know they’re allowed to relax and unwind at multiple points during the day.
They may talk shop. They may not. What’s important is that they’re bonding, learning to trust each other and getting things off their chest. Over time, they should become happier and more engaged by their work, leading to a better level of service for your customers.
Another technique is to implement chat facilities for employees only. Let them share ideas, jokes, stories, tips for handling aggravated customers. Again, it’s an effective way to bond and encourage workers to learn from each other.
Improving your call center’s internal communication is pivotal to ensure your customer service team is as good as it can be. Undertaking quality assurance will help identify flaws in performance and strategies, and open communication makes addressing these far easier.
Avoid letting your employees become isolated and essentially playing by their own rules. Take advantage of team-based communication tools and project management platforms to keep everyone on the same page.
As we’ve discussed, bad communication leads the way for poor customer experiences. And that could break your business in the long run: as the National Business Research Institute’s comprehensive infographic on customer service shows, 91 percent of unhappy customers won’t send any further business your way after receiving poor service.
What communication techniques and tools do you use in your customer service team? Let us know!