In this article, Kiri Thom, head of Training and Professional Development at CSBA, tells us about the culture, systems and processes that underpin high performing CX teams.
Kiri works with customer service teams of all shapes and sizes, in almost every sector that you can think of. While some are better resourced than others and have sophisticated processes and systems in place, Kiri stresses that ‘while these are important, a supportive, encouraging, personalised and consistent approach to development is the key marker of success’.
‘Being an agent is a tough gig. The best Team Leaders and Managers never lose sight of this. They approach their role with a focus on making their agent’s job easier and more rewarding’.
They do this by creating a consistent, structured and ongoing feedback, coaching, training and development program. While these programs take many different shapes and forms, the most effective ones take a multi-faceted approach that includes:
> One-on-one feedback and coaching
High performing teams understand the distinction between feedback and coaching. They listen to their agents (driving employee engagement and satisfaction) and recognise that feedback is just the beginning of the improvement cycle – not the end! That it is reactive and important for tracking performance and setting goals, but that coaching should be proactive and forward thinking.
> Training and professional development
The value of regular training, education and development shouldn’t be under-estimated. Not just for developing skills, but also for the positive impact it has on culture, satisfaction and performance.
Generally speaking, training is most effective when it is delivered in a variety of different formats – daily musters, online learning modules along with more formalised training. ‘Mixing it up helps to keep it fresh and interesting for your team. Time and time again I have Managers and Team Leaders tell me how much more their team absorbs when it is a fresh face delivering the training’.
> Reward and recognition
Celebrating success is one of the most critical elements of any development program. The key to doing it well is to recognise and reward all types of successes – ‘it’s not just about who gets the best score, it could be someone who has handled a difficult customer well, or is consistently improving. Recognition needs to come in different forms, an award, a team email or a special mention. But most importantly it has to be genuine and authentic’.
> Training the trainer
‘Many Team Leaders and Managers get promoted to the role because they’re great with customers. But coaching, training and developing people requires a different skillset and approach. Providing training and professional development for Team Leaders and Managers is just as important, if not more important. Because ultimately the success and effectiveness of your development program comes down to the skills of those delivering it’.