Stick or carrot?
What’s the better way to get great results from staffing professionals: Threaten them…or dangle cash bonuses in their face?
As a customer service leader, it’s up to you to find ways to help your team do great work – and the means of accomplishing that come in all shapes and sizes. But while some leaders naturally take a tough approach, while others try to motivate with rewards or games, customer service expert Jeff Toister offered a third approach that consistently beats the stick and the carrot:
Make It Easy for Your Team to Do Great Work
Sound like an oversimplification? Jeff doesn’t merely offer an “easy button,” he shares a 3-pronged strategy to help your customer service employees do great work, every day. The ideas below are specific to customer service, but you can apply those lessons to other areas of your company:
Step 1: Provide a clear strategy.
Do your employees who provide service know what your goals are – and how to achieve them? Unless you’ve clearly articulated these, it’s unlikely. As a service leader, it’s up to you to:
- Create a clear vision for your candidate and client customer service experience.
- Build a customer-centric company culture.
- Craft a “service mantra” that describes your organization’s customer service mission and goals. As a service leader, you must spell out what your firm stands for, so your team can work together to continue building the right culture.
- Clarify how each team member can personally contribute to achieving your service goals.
Step 2: Empower your employees.
This second strategy is near and dear to my heart; I’ve written about it multiple times over the past decade. In this post, I explain why it’s essential to give your team the authority, training and resources to satisfy customers and do great work.
How do you know if your team members are truly empowered? Here’s a quick gut check:
- Are your employees equipped to resolve problems, leaving clients feeling positive and loyal?
- If one of your employees makes a service decision, do they know that you’ll back them up?
If you can answer “yes” to both of those questions, you’re on the right track.
Step 3: Be a role model.
Your staff takes their cues from you; they watch you carefully to see which behaviors they should display and which they should avoid. So, instead of merely preaching about customer service, it’s important to also provide exceptional service (especially to internal customers). Make it easy for employees to recognize great service behaviors by modeling them in your daily activities.
Bringing it all together
If you really want to inspire your team to do great work, skip the sticks and carrots. Provide clarity. Empower them. And lead by example. Do these three things, and your team will do amazing things for your customers – and your company.