4 easy ways to gauge the morale of your support team

Full morale

I have dealt with one too many companies that took the BICHOK approach to customer service. It was management’s opinion that if the employees are not in their chairs, with hands on the keyboard, then they were not working.  I will be the first to admit that while there is some truth in this but, it isn’t the complete picture. There are things to look for when the stress is increased to the point that your reps are shutting down or checking out.

1.     Is your team playing? 

I recently got the chance to talk with senior reps at a large fortune 500 company that was coming out of some rough times.  The recession had impacted them as it had everyone, but the turnover rate for the senior reps was almost non-existent.   We had a chance to sit down to lunch and chat, and I asked them what made them stay?  The answer was almost completely unanimous.  Before things had gone south, the company had done a lot of team-building exercises.  And by team building, I mean PLAY.  These reps had been in competitions with and against each other, had games and a chance to connect and interact on a more personal level. Some of that play time, was during work hours.  As a result, they had connected, their families had connected. So when things got rough, they all buckled down and weathered the storm together.  I asked them why they were still at the company if things had gotten so bad and everyone one of them answered, because of the other people at the table.  They knew their team inside and out. Each member knew not only their own strengths and weaknesses, but that of their team mates. They respected those differences and made them work efficiently as a group. Teams that have bonded like this tend to stick together during tough times.  As long as management doesn’t ever get the attitude that employees are disposable, these teams can pull through some of the worst of times.
2.     Physical health:

Are you having a sudden problem with tardiness, and people calling in sick?  Then you either have a toxic building, or a toxic work environment.  Employees who feel valued and enjoy thir work, and the team they work with are not watching the clock.  Is your company having issues with getting team members on the phone at the start of a shift? Are your teams shutting down and running out the door in the evenings? Have you had the air quality tested in your building, and it is acceptable? Then you more than likely have an issue with toxic work environment, there is a direct correlation between toxic levels of stress and physical ailments.  
3.     Call times:

Ironically, when moral is down and the team is checking out, call times drop. Most statisticians would say YEA, this is great!  There is a reason it is not.  If your employees are not engaging with your customers, and making sure that the question the customer is asking is really the issue, then the chances are, they are giving out the wrong answer. This results in more callbacks and lower customer satisfaction scores.  This gives the added problem of your company getting a reputation of an unreliable customer service department.  Look at Radio Shack, in 1994 Radio Shack promoted the “You’ve got questions, We’ve got answers.”  Unfortunately, their call centers were understaffed, and under trained, the store locations had little to no support at all, so the tagline was frequently misquoted as “We don’t have answers.”  In 2012, they had an advertising campaign. “Radio Shack is Seriously Connected” Unfortunately, there were a series of serious customer service issues in the stores. One notable issue, made its way to the Repman blog, in a segment called “Radio Shack is Seriously Disconnected.”  
4.     Customer Service Scores:

Take your pick, NPS CSAT, CES?  These scores measure customer satisfactions, and there are now independent organizations that track that information.   Groups like Score.org and the American Customer Satisfaction Index track, and rank, companies by the scores they receive.  This information is available to the general public.  Most customers are not going to look up those websites, but what they do look at is Google Maps, and Yelp., customer service rankings there tend to have more weight than anything the BBB can rank.

Low team moral can lead to employee burnout.  Both of which leads to a drop in production and efficiency. Employees that are struggling to find a work/life balance, or motivation to work can be a bigger cost than you think. 

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