The Real Rock Star
Feb27

The Real Rock Star

Who is the best associate on your team? Often times the first thought is “that guy” or “that gal” customers always ask for.  They may have received an extra portion of charisma and are not afraid to use it.   Be wary, however, as he or she can be especially susceptible to moving the spotlight away from what is really important. The best analyst is the one who not only delivers a great customer experience, but empowers and reinforces the rest of the team.  They are going to respond in a way that supports their peers instead of creating a dependency on themselves.  They use phrases such as “our best practices state” instead of “what I think you should do.”  They take advantage of group knowledge to reinforce the resolution instead of making the customer think it was a “special” solution only that particular agent could have provided. This is tough because it is contrary to our nature.  We want to stand out from our peers and be exceptional.  I can recall as a young customer service representative the way I looked up to the more senior associates who had customers asking for them regularly.  It was years before I could see clearly the divisions and problems this caused. As leaders, we need to identify and support the correct behaviors.  Positive feedback from a customer in regards to an analyst is critically important, and is often one of the primary ways we gage an agent’s effectiveness.   As we review this feedback, we should ask ourselves two questions: 1)      Did the agent create an excellent customer experience? 2)      Based on that experience, does the customer value the support organization or the individual who served them? If the feedback is regularly centric to the individual and not the department, this could raise a flag.  The power of agents developing relationships with customers cannot be denied…sometimes this is primary factor that secures a renewal.  The trick is that it must be kept to an appropriate level.  I have seen too many negative consequences and bottlenecks as a result of a relationship morphing into a dependency. I try to coach newer associates on this principle from the very beginning.  Instead of striving to become a personal SME to multiple customers, find value in the team synergy you are helping to create.  Let the customer leave a call saying “Wow, that is a support group that has their act together!”  These are the analysts who earn the right to lead with their peers and make great things happen.  Recognize them for the rock stars they are! Share...

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You Cook, I Clean
Feb26

You Cook, I Clean

Strategies for a knowledge-centered support environment “This is a not a hotel, stop acting like it!”  One of the best tech support tips I’ve had recently came from a church pastor.  He was challenging all of us to take ownership of the small things and to be considerate of those around us.  I was struck by the application to a support organization.  Do your analysts view the work environment like their own home, or a hotel they are leaving the next day?  When opportunities arise to contribute do they take ownership, or wait for an imaginary room service to clean up?  Create an environment your employees are proud of.  When this happens, they will carry the banner for you.  No baby sitting or micromanagement necessary. Contributing to the knowledge base is a prime example.  Capturing that knowledge on a regular basis is critically important.  However if you put a “document quota expectation” on your team it is likely to backfire.  If analysts sincerely care about their peers and the department, knowledge management will have value for them.  Not only are contributions more frequent, but they are of much higher quality.  The cookie cutter work you are likely to get from analysts filling a quota of knowledge base articles will not hit the mark. How does one create this environment you ask? First, the author of the knowledge article should not be required to keep it up to date.  When this happens, the analyst is essentially penalized for making contributions.  By having a “you cook, I clean” system (one analyst writes, another maintains) not only will you have another pair of eyes to add integrity to the information, but all analysts will share the burden of keeping knowledge up-to-date.  Also be sure to creatively engage resources outside of support to assist you in the task of keeping knowledge relevant.  They often times bring a valuable third party perspective. Secondly, you must lead by example.  Find small ways to contribute to the knowledge base on a regular basis.  It is one thing to speak of the importance of knowledge management; it is another thing to show them.  Set precedence for keeping the house clean and showing pride for the department. When your team accepts this challenge, the change will be undeniable.  Like walking past that spectacular yard in the neighborhood, everyone who has the privilege of working with your department is sure to take notice! Share...

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