Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Identifying the secrets of employee motivation, part of Innovative Customer Service Techniques.
- Employee motivation is always a hot topic in customer service. If you work on the front lines, staying motivated might sometimes be tough. If you lead a customer service team, it can be frustrating when your employees aren't as motivated as you'd like them to be. In this video I want to share a motivation secret that works whether we're talking about you or the employees you supervise. Motivation is an elusive concept. If you've ever played a team sport or watched any team sport, you can usually tell how successful a team is by how hard they try and how they interact with each other.
Teams that are doing well seem to be highly motivated. Teams that are doing poorly seem to be discouraged. We often assume that motivation leads to success. Coaches give fiery speeches to motivate their teams. They come up with catchy slogans. Fans cheer their teams on to give them encouragement. In business it's much the same way. The boss tries to motivate the team through pep talks, slogans, and incentives. Successful teams or individual employees seem highly motivated, while less successful people do not.
So, what's the secret to motivation? I've uncovered research that suggests we have the wrong formula. It turns out that people are naturally motivated to do things they like doing, whether it's playing a sport or serving customers. It's a lack of success that demotivates us. One example is research that shows employee motivation tends to decrease the longer they're on the job. Here's an example from the contact center industry. This study revealed that job satisfaction for contact center agents steadily declines after their first few months on the job.
The same thing often happens in other industries, so what happens? People are usually pretty excited when they start a new job. They might even enjoy the first few weeks when they're going through a training program, but things soon change. The job gets tougher, expectations get higher, and employees might encounter obstacles that limit their success. I've had conversations with thousands of customer service professionals, and they all focus on a similar theme: highly motivated employees describe the successes they've had serving customers.
They speak with pride about the things their company, their boss, and their coworkers do to make it easy to serve customers. Demotivated employees describe the challenges they face when trying to do their jobs. They speak with frustration about the things their company, their boss, and their coworkers do that make it hard to make customers happy. People just want to do a great job. If you want to motivate yourself or motivate your team, start by removing the obstacles that get in the way of success. It starts on a personal level.
Trying asking yourself these three questions. What customer service goals would you like to achieve? How can you use your strengths in your job? And, what solutions are within your control to make things better? If you're a customer service leader, there are a few things you can do to help your team avoid demotivation. Create a clear vision for success. Make sure everyone on the team shares the same understanding of outstanding customer service. Fix broken processes that make it difficult for your employees to serve customers.
Empower employees to do what's right to make their customers happy. Now, here's one last suggestion that can help: try to find small wins each and every day. It might be a customer you made really happy, a challenging problem you solved, or a coworker you helped. It feels good to be successful. If you can focus on those achievements, you'll want to come to work the next day and do it again.
- Identifying the most important customer need
- Making wait time more bearable
- Improving your power of observation
- Avoiding directed attention fatigue
- Increasing teamwork