Many companies face the same challenge with their customer support team: how to prevent the support staff from leaving.
Common reasons for this boil down to burnout, the feeling of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. Failure to successfully prevent these will lead in your support staff to be unhappy, dissatisfied with opportunities for personal growth and eventually want to leave the team altogether.
The key is preventing burnout
There are many reasons why people burn out, especially within a customer facing role. But, these can be prevented by nurturing your support team.
In a previous job, as the manager of a customer support team, I wanted to show my team how they were progressing without them having me just telling them each week. So, I held monthly team huddles and encouraged everyone to share one thing they were proud of and one thing they really wanted to work on since joining.
I found this not only drove the team to pro-actively recognise their own progression, and influenced them to set themselves new goals to achieve, but, it delighted me to see them actually identify how they could help each other to accomplish targets by using the skills they had each acquired when successfully meeting their own.
I strongly encourage trying out the above technique, along with the following five rules that I like to follow when nurturing a support team to help them feel valued, needed and motivated:
1. Give responsibility
Make every member of your team responsible for a project that’s something other than just working through a queue of support tickets every day of the week. Allow them the time to actually carry this out so their primary role isn’t affected, but be sure to ask for updates on progress to ensure there’s development on the project. Completion of these projects will help them feel accomplished at the end of the week, rather than burnt out.
2. Remind them why they’re needed
I can’t stress this enough: Don’t let them forget why their jobs are tied to the company’s growth!
Collect customer retention insights from the Account Management team and recognize which retained customers were supported by your team. Also, hold regular meetings with your team to collate and share the most popular and important pieces of customer feedback to the rest of the company. This will assure them that their voices are being heard.
3. Share team performance
It’s incredibly disheartening to work a full week without knowing how you’re performing. Keep track of your team members’ performance and openly communicate this with the team on a regular basis, highlighting outstanding customer service.
Give them clear examples and actionable feedback of why good or bad results occurred. This will help create an excellent team culture, showing them that they are all, individually, essential to the team’s success.
4. Hold regular 1-1s
Give them the opportunity to speak to you in private, let them vent, relax and share how they’re finding things. Note down anything you need to follow up on and be sure to do so. This will lead them to telling you immediately if something’s wrong, allowing you to help before it’s too late.
5. Remember why they started
Look back at your interview notes and review why they wanted to join a support team in the first place! Use this to think about projects you can have them work on outside of their everyday ticket queue, to help boost morale and remind them of how far they’ve come.
Helping your team to feel accomplished, needed and valued within a great culture will not only boost morale, but also, and most importantly, encourage them to want to work in customer service and progress within the same department.
Congrats, you’re on your way to building one hell of a customer support team!