Tips for Supervisors to Increase Customer Satisfaction
In the customer service industry, people put a lot of emphasis on the frontline people who face the customer. That makes sense because these are the people who interact the most with the customer. But the other side of the equation is equally important: the people managing and leading the frontliners. If your contact center is ignoring the development of its managers and supervisors, you will run into problems down the line because "good things trickle from the top, but so do bad things."
There are two main philosophies any supervisor should embrace in customer service.
Make Yourself Available
The most important rule any supervisor needs to keep in mind is simply being there for the customers and most importantly, the employees. Frontliners are similar to soldiers on the battlefront. They come face to face with difficulties, often under harsh conditions, and need a leader to keep them together and bolster their morale.
A supervisor has to be on the floor with the agents at all times. His mere presence gives a peace of mind that can’t be replaced by anything. If any problems arise -- and they do in any contact center -- having someone there who is capable and can handle things is huge mental support that can keep everyone performing much better.
The most common issue a customer service agent will face is the dreaded, “Let me speak to your supervisor” line. When that happens, supervisors need to make themselves available and readily accept the call or interaction. This makes the customer experience much smoother for everyone. Nothing crashes a contact center faster than supervisors who aren’t willing to talk to the customers themselves.
Your Employees are your Customers
Here is a secret that really shouldn't be a secret: happy employees means happy customers. Making employee satisfaction a priority is the key to happy customers. That is because happy employees give their all in meeting customer expectations. Unhappy employees are more likely to sit there staring at the clock.
A study from Wharton shows that employees who were given messages of appreciation performed 50% better than those who did not.
There are many, many ways a supervisor can show their appreciation to their agents. All the following methods work wonders for morale and productivity. These include:
Praising Employees - both in public and in private, but preferably in public. A job well done deserves the recognition.
Feedback - equally important is giving timely feedback, whether positive or negative. Letting them know they did a good job teaches them what behaviors to reinforce and giving them coaching on how to deal with a situation better will improve their performance.
Regular One-on-Ones - even if employees do nothing noteworthy, it is essential to have regular one-on-one coaching sessions so the employee never feels out of touch and stays engaged. These sessions are best used to coach and mentor the employees on how they can do their job, or how they can reach a promotion. It can also be used just to touch base and talk about non-work-related things. These drive engagement and tell your people that you see them as human beings and not just as employees. Aim to have a one-on-one at least once a week.
Employee Appreciation Days - regular events to show appreciation are a must in any company, and extra important in high-stress environments like contact centers. A simple lunch or dinner party at the end of the month, for instance, is a great way to show appreciation and doesn’t require much of a budget. Find ways to create fun gatherings you can have as a team to show appreciation to people’s efforts. If you can have these more often, even better. Aim for at least one such event every quarter at the minimum.
Raises and Promotions - finally, nothing makes employees feel like they matter more than a raise or, even better, a promotion. A raise translates to an immediate monetary reward and should be given at least once a year if the employee did a good job throughout the year. Work to have a yearly employee review system that fairly evaluates their contributions and efforts, and reward them appropriately. Make sure to mentor employees who are ready so they can move on to bigger positions of responsibility in the company. An employee who moves up in the ranks feels more valued than anything else and realizes for the first time that the company really wants them there.
In the end, your employees will use your behavior as a model and example on how to handle their own interactions with customers. If a supervisor shows a bad example to their agents then the agents will definitely not give a good showing to their customers.
While there is no one-size-fits-all method to improve customer satisfaction for any business, any manager or supervisor can greatly benefit from keeping these two basic rules in mind. Remember to be present. More importantly, you have to treat your position as an opportunity to show your employees how to treat their own customers on each chat, call and interaction.