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Customer Services team just going through the motions


Hi all,

Long-time lurker, first-time poster here.

I was hoping someone might have a suggestion to help out with the customer services team in the company I work for?

I've been doing my call recording reviews and have identified an issue with the team. They appear to have got themselves stuck in an "going through the motions" type rut and are sounding increasingly bored and robotic when dealing with our clients - which isn't much in the way of a customer experience!

I've tried a few tricks to try and bring some vibrancy and dynamic to the team's approach - which has worked in the short term - but they seem to just slip into the same habits and no amount of monitoring & motivating seems to work.

I'd like to get them into a workshop or course I can deliver to try and promote the idea of the "Customer Experience" and get them improved for a longer period of time. Has anyone got any interesting suggestions?

5 Responses

  1. Is it training?
    Hi Chris.

    The first thought I had when I saw your question was whether this is really a training issue or a management one. If you assume that training is delivery of new skills, this falls squarely in the management camp. The people have the skills and are not using them – it lays with the manager to coach their staff to achieve what they’ve already demonstrated they can do. How have you included managers within your evaluation of the training? Have you agreed expectations (of the participants, yourself and the managers) with the managers before the delivery

    However, there’s a need to review your training and ask why there appears to be a lack of ‘stickability’. Is it the material? What is ‘new’ in the training that you’ve offered? What are you offering that is unique enough to make participants want to maintain it when they leave the training room?

    More questions than answers I’m afraid.

  2. Customer service team

    Hi Chris

    As well as agreeing with Andrew’s comments, I wonder whether they are too scripted. This may be by their own making, rather than design – they have each taken their "bullet point" list and created something they are comfortable with and now they are bored.

    Enlist their help in redesigning the prompts and, if there is a script, bin it.

    Ask them what is going on – whether that is face-to-face, by questionnaire or focus group, you need to find out what the issues are. Maybe they ARE all bored; maybe they think business is worse than it is and their jobs are at risk … could be all sorts.


  3. Managers

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your comments.

    There is absolutely no doubt in mind that there is an issue in the coaching & motivational skills of the team leader in that area of the business and I am presently working with them to develop their skills and to re-inforce the "Training is not a magic wand" theory they seem to hold and motivate them to follow up my teaching on the floor.

    I would be the first to admit that the material is getting stale, hence the post for suggestions.

    Chris W

  4. Motivation of Cutomer Service Teams

    As with all the other posts. When I read your question it did not sound to me like a training issue. Training can help as part of a wider process to motivate and gel a team however there could be a pletora of other issues:

    • Is there a clear vision and plan for what it is hoped the team will achieve?
    • Does each team have meaningful manageable goals and targets?
    • Does the team and the individuals in in it feel valued by the company?
    • Are there regular updates on how they are doing and how the organisation is doing with information clearly shared?
    • Have you put systems in place to support team members ongoing development which is linked to a succession plan?
    • As said before are team members empowered to make decisions, do they have a sense of owenership and responsibility?
    • Are they suitably rewarded for their efforts in a meaningful way with short term wins
    • Is there a positive culture within the organisation with leaders demonstrating that they care and support employees and customers
    • Do the systems and processes in place support the Team Members – do they say continuously ‘I need to put you in touch with someone else who can deal with your problem’.
    • Is the organisation and team led well?

    lots and lots of things to think about, my advice would be to ask everyone how they feel about the job and what would help them to do it better and for you to take action to work on their suggestions to show your commitment to them.

    Like you I am more of a browser than contributor.

    Good Luck



  5. do they actually give a toss?
    Sorry to use the vernacular but if the people you are talking about come over as “bored and robotic” when dealing with the paying clients it suggests that the real concern is that they don’t actually care any more and that this is going to be transmitted to the customers.

    The challenge therefore is surely to actually get them to “care”…whether that takes training, management motivation/leading by example, making people feel that management cares about them or even some frightening home truths.

    Training is not the magic wand, and, if these folk work in the UK then they are probably, like most of the population, simply sick and tired of the relentless drip drip drip drip drip drip drip of bad news.

    Read “Shackleton’s Way”…it has some brilliant points about optimism when it is all turning pear-shaped….then give a copy to your staff and their managers!

    Rus Slater

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