What do you think of when you think of St. Patty’s day?
If you ask that question around the world, you’ll hear the same handful of things:
- Green beer
As every customer support manager knows, one of the most important keys to providing great customer service is to provide a great experience every time. We’ve all gone to a company a second time because our first visit was so great, only to be disappointed and realize that it was because of the person we interacted with before, not necessarily the whole team.
Repetition, repetition, repetition. Aside from hiring the right person, repeating core values, principles, and standards is one of the best possible ways to keep a team consistent. It’s been said many times that practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect, but it definitely makes permanent. How many times have you experienced St. Patty’s? Each time verifies or corrects your previous assumptions about the holiday.
Also, don’t just repeat the words; make it visual. Think about how lame and non-sticky St. Patty’s Day would be without the identifiable, visual icons.
How often are customer service teams inappropriately incentivised? They are required to produce a certain result, but if they slip up, they are chastised worse than a when they’re on the phone with a mad customer. St. Patty’s day may be the greatest possible example of team incentivisation (read social pressure) that includes both positive and negative reinforcement, bringing millions of people toward the same goal.
Think about it. Are you wearing green right now? Why?
Was it because you wanted to join in the festivities (positive reinforcement)? Or was it because you didn’t want to be pinched (negative reinforcement)? This day has found the perfect balance of the two types of incentives and has even found a way to make the negative side fun!
Clearly communicate the goal and set the expectation of consequences for both achievement and failure. If you are only focusing on the latter, you may be viewed as a tyrant. Structure both in a fair manner and you’ll be lucky as the Emerald Isle.
Allow for creativity
Did you know customer support teams are human? Did you also know that humans like to have fun and be creative? Treat your team as if both of those facts were true and let them live a little. If you have clearly set up goal posts for them to kick the ball through, let them kick it in a way that makes the most sense and provides the most value for them as individuals.
Have you seen how creative people get on St. Patty’s Day? Chicago dyes their river green, Sydney shines green light on the Opera House, and don’t even get me started on costumes, just do a Google Image search for “St. Patrick’s Day around the world” and you will be blown away at the variety. Even with so much variety though, everyone pushes toward the same goals.
You may think your team has a wider set of boundaries than they think they do, so make it clearly known that they are allowed to stray from being exactly the same as long as they keep it within the goal posts. Also, get to know your team on an individual level and understand what each member values and help them articulate how they can leverage their interests to provide a better experience.
Would you like to make training your customer support team easier? Connect with me.
Image credit: Giphy