6 Tips for Motivating Customer Service Employees
Dave Cherrie
May 24, 2021
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Motivating customer service employees
Customer service is crucial for retail businesses, retail wireless businesses, and the non-sales teams at automotive dealerships. Employee engagement is also essential — according to Gallup, businesses with the best engagement are 21 percent more profitable, 17 percent more productive, and have 41 percent less absenteeism than those who struggle with it.
Connecting these dots, however, isn’t always easy. Motivating customer service employees to do their best work can prove to be challenging. Here are six tips for better engaging workers to deliver excellence to customers and, in turn, your business.
1. Be a communicator.
Motivating customer service employees starts with the example you set and the guidance you give. Expectations matter, from how employees should act and respond when helping customers to the goals you set for them to meet and ideally exceed. Communicating those expectations professionally and empathetically provides reasons for your team to want to follow you.
An unfortunate fact of the retail, wireless, and automotive sectors is that many customer service employees don’t know how to effectively serve customers. Demonstrating what good service looks like by your words and your actions also communicates your expectations and is motivating.
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2. Be a listener.
Employees who feel valued are more engaged, and engaged employees are more productive. Simply listening to customer service employees’ concerns, struggles, feedback, and opinions can go a long way toward motivating them. Research from Salesforce discovered that when employees feel like their voices are heard at work, they are 4.6 times more likely to do their best work.
We all work better knowing someone is in our corner, supporting us through thick and thin, and that we can open up to when needed. Customer service employees often apply that support to their customers—and everybody wins.
3. Teach and train soft skills.
Your employees may be proficient in the technical details and specifications of your products and services—an obviously important requirement for their jobs. However, many of these experts aren’t as strong in other areas, such as interacting with customers, managing time, and communicating with and supporting each other.
In today’s retail environment, soft skills are just as important as technical knowledge. Teaching soft skills not only improves customer service but also helps in motivating employees because they ultimately benefit from better results. This training also can provide a welcome change of pace, allowing employees to expand their horizons beyond the nuts and bolts of your products.
4. Offer incentives and rewards.
Although it’s technically part of their jobs, employees may feel little incentive to deliver great customer service. Even the most motivated workers experience doldrums at work, and people who aren’t fully engaged are more likely to be content with being just mediocre. Extra incentives—supplemented by rewards—remind and motivate customer service employees to do their best every time.
Incentives don’t need to be (and, sometimes, can’t be) specifically tied to sales. Customer service activities that can be tracked include: Greeting customers Getting customers to sign up for a free rewards program Following up via phone or email after a sale is made Getting a positive review Receiving recognition from peers (more on this later)
A quality employee engagement platform can help track customer service incentives as well as let workers select and redeem rewards straight from the application.
5. Use gamification and leaderboards.
Turning everyday customer service responsibilities into something fun that employees look forward to completing can be powerfully motivating. Gamification allows employees to earn points for tasks completed, then compare scores with coworkers as well as to goals they set for themselves.
Customer service shouldn’t necessarily be a competition, but leaderboards can motivate employees to match each other’s great work as well as to support each other toward trackable team goals. The underlying objective is encouraging everybody to pursue great service—and that objective can benefit from gamification.
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6. Build a culture of recognition.
Customer service is sometimes a thankless job, with customers’ complaints often drowning out praise and appreciation. This sad reality makes internal shout-outs all the more important. The praise managers give employees obviously helps, but a true culture of recognition encourages employees to congratulate and lift each other up.
Some employee engagement applications come with a messaging function, thus allowing users to post shout-outs across the team or the store. Managers can do their part by being generous with praise—your example will encourage others to also be generous—and occasionally offering instant rewards, redeemable through the gamification app, to employees who go above and beyond for a customer.
Motivating customer service employees becomes easier with great tools supporting your efforts. The Arcade employee engagement platform includes gamification, rewards, chat functionality, and other features that support your efforts to inspire your team members to do their best. Contact us today to schedule a demo.
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Dave Cherrie
Dave is part of the Growth team at Arcade.