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!