Customer Engagement Lessons for New Customer Managers

Being in the management game has a different feel to it than being a customer service agent.  However, there are similarities between the two, and today we’re going to go over several distinctions and approaches that will help managers maximize their own customer service effectiveness, as well as the effectiveness of the agents they manage.

 

The Trickle Down Treatment

This falls under “doing unto others”.  If you treat your customer service agents poorly, how do you expect they’ll treat your customers?  As a manager you might feel that’s “their problem”, but when the boss notices that productivity is down or that there’s an especially high turnover rate in your department, who will they go to?  They’re not going to go to the customer service representatives.  No, they’re going to go to the manager.  Managers get paid to MANAGE, and the best way to manage is to set a great example for your agents.

Too many companies try to have a sort of detachment from their employees.  They suggest that there should be an emotional gap between manager and agent, since there may come a time that the employee will be the recipient of bad news – such as pay cuts or termination – and the manager will have to be the one to relay that news.  This is a negative mindset to adopt, because it holds the pretense of something going wrong.  There will always be hiccups with employees down the road, and it’s best to deal with those matters professionally when they arise.  Otherwise, treat your agents like gold, and they’ll start treating your customers like gold.

 

Put in Your Work

Being the manager doesn’t mean you get to slack.  Remember, you’re living by example, and the agents you manage WILL notice if you’re doing your work or not.  People are always on the lookout for incompetence, so if you’re not pulling your own weight then it will be apparent to the people below you.  Don’t give them an excuse to blame their own productivity issues on you – be the one they look to as a shining example of how a model employee should behave in dealing with customers and coworkers alike.

 

“Can I Talk to a Manager?”

You know when a customer is really angry or frustrated, and they want to “speak to a manager”?  This means they’re going to want to talk with you.  In customer service, these are your most “in the trenches” moments.  The customer is volatile, your agents are nervous, and all eyes will be on you.

If the client’s issue is happily resolved, you’ll have proven your professionalism and ability to handle tough situations to your agents and to your boss.  If you make things worse for the client and act unprofessionally, you’re showing your agents how irresponsible you are.  This will deteriorate their faith in your abilities, so when it comes time to make requests of them, they’re going to feel less happy and willing to fulfill their obligations.

As a manager, remember that you’re not responsible for all the actions of your employees.  You are, however, responsible for your own actions, and making the conscious decision to be a manager your representatives look up to and admire is your decision to make.  Work hard, cultivate a positive image, and in doing so you will inspire your workforce to do as you do.

About the author

Flavio Martins

Flavio Martins is the VP of Customer Support at an award-winning technology start-up. He's a featured blogger, customer service presenter and customer loyalty fanatic. Flavio understands that customer service is the key for successful businesses to create long term loyalty and success. Flavio is a CustomerThink.com Featured Author, Top Author for Service & Support, Top Author for Customer Experience and Overall Top Blogger in 2012.

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