Keeping Customer Support Representatives Motivated During the Busiest Times of the Year

Tabitha Naylor

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People equate the holidays with fun and relaxation. Customer support teams think otherwise. Many customers, who call support during the holidays, are short-tempered. After all, whatever their issue may be is taking away time they could be spending with their family or friends.

Many customer service representatives feel the same way, however, often times wishing they too were enjoying the spirit of the season instead of taking care of problems and complaints from irritated customers. This can lead to a vicious cycle that starts with a despondent support agent becoming irritated by an also irritated customer, who then makes the agent even more irritated. Things can escalate quickly and in the blink of an eye, a customer can easily be lost.

To prevent this from happening, try motivating customer support reps during the holiday season. It’s an easy and effective way to help ease the stress and tension that typically accompanies such a busy time of year. Plus, a happier support team increases the chances that customers will be happy, or at least mollified, with the end result.

Offer Incentives

It is one thing to say that management understands how tough it can be to provide customer support during busy times. It is another to actually reflect that understanding in the compensation that agents receive. Most agents will put up with a lot, as long as they know that the trouble they go through will be worth it at the end of the day. It’s important to note that incentives do not need to be in monetary form, however. They can come in other forms as well, including gift certificates, extra paid leave on regular days, or even a free meal or snacks.

Put Appreciation on Paper

This may sound cliche and old fashioned, but handing out a certificate of appreciation does actually work. It is a palpable reminder that management has noticed a person’s hard work and contribution to the company. Such certificates can be added to employee files and used in evaluations for promotions and salary increases.

Provide Support on Tough Days Too

Bosses need to set good examples. Seeing supervisors, managers, and higher executives do customer support on difficult days, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, is a very strong psychological tool. It shows support teams that bosses understand the hardships they experience during difficult times of the year because they have shared the experience themselves. Simply being present will not always be enough, however. Seeing an executive tackle a difficult issue with a difficult customer is a rather strong mental picture that sticks in the minds of employees. Many top companies have actually made a policy that states everyone from upper management to the lowest ranks does support.

Support the Team

The customer is not always right. Agents are often limited by company procedures and policies. Listening to customer support agents with an open mind demonstrates that their opinions and actions are just as important as the customer’s input in resolving an issue. Standing behind them when customers become unreasonable – and even abusive – further reinforces how much the company values them. Valuing an agent, more often than not, results in the agent valuing the company more. Tough days will still be tough. But agents who know their company is willing to back them up makes them more willing to tough it out on the most difficult days.


 

Does your customer support staff feel management supports them? Are your company’s executives seen as people who lead by example? Where does your support team draw its motivation from during the busiest times of the year?

In busy times, like the lead up to Valentine’s Day this weekend, adding live chat software can go a long way to helping your staff stay on top of support and motivated! Learn how HappyFox Chat can help get you going, and start with your 14-day free trial

Tabitha Naylor

Tabitha Jean Naylor is the Founder of Successful Startup 101, a digital magazine that provides answers to today’s most pertinent questions facing startup founders, and the Owner of TabithaNaylor.com. Her intimate knowledge of how sales and marketing go hand-in-hand has resulted in a variety of successful campaigns for start-ups through publicly traded companies, including Adobe and Microsoft. Ms. Naylor holds a dual bachelor degree in Political Science and International Business from West Virginia University, where she graduated magna cum laude.

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