Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding how managers and employees work together, part of Customer Service Foundations.
Customer service professionals and their managers both have an important role to play in delivering outstanding service. Managers provide support, guidance and clear direction to help their team succeed. Customer service employees must be an effective part of the team, while working on the front lines, serving their customers. I'd like to share with you three things that you can do to play your part in creating a positive relationship with your manager. Ask for guidance, present solutions and be an ace. The first tip is to ask for guidance.
We all encounter situations where we don't know what to do. Perhaps a customer has an unusual request where the normal procedure won't work. Or, maybe you're swamped and can't get all your work done, so you need help prioritizing. You can help your manager help you by letting them know exactly what help you need to be successful. The second tip is to present solutions. If you interact with a lot of customers, you are in a unique position to identify problems. You can be an even more valuable part of the team if you try to find solutions to those problems before sharing them with your manager.
When I was an account manager for a uniform company, I noticed that we were losing business because one of my customers couldn't meet our minimum order size requirements. They used a lot of uniforms but they had locations throughout the country that all placed their own orders, each location only ordered a couple of uniforms at a time and that was below the minimum. Before asking my manager for help I talked to some of my co-workers and our operations manager to see what we did with other customers in similar situations. I learned our factory had a special program that could combine orders from multiple locations so they all met the minimum.
All that was required was an approval form signed by a manager. So instead of bringing my manager a problem, I brought him the approval form so he could sign off on the solution. The third tip I'd like to share with you is to be an ace. This means doing everything you can to make yourself valuable to your customer service manager. We all want our boss to be helpful and supportive but it's a two way street. Managers face a lot of pressure to get things done. So it's a relief when they have an employee they know they can count on. One of the best ways to do this is to sit down with your boss and have a conversation about their top priorities.
Almost every leader has one or two hot buttons that they really care about. For example, I once had a boss who hated to be surprised by angry customers. So whenever I learned about a customer who was really angry, I gave him a heads-up so he was prepared if the customer escalated the issue and gave him a call. This showed my boss that he could trust me and made it easier for him to handle those escalations. So hopefully, these tips will help you create a positive and collaborative relationship with your manager, so you can work together towards a mutual goal of providing outstanding customer service.
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- What is outstanding customer service?
- Identifying your customer
- Creating a customer service vision
- Enhancing likability in person, over the phone, and via email
- Actively listening to customers
- Going the extra mile
- Taking ownership of problems
- Diffusing angry customers
- Using data to evaluate and improve your customer service<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.