Tips for managing customer service teams

Managing customer service teams needs strong leadership and effective management

There is so much written about management and leadership that it can get very confusing! In the world of providing excellent customer service, is it better to focus on managing your team or should you be providing strong leadership?

The answer is that both are important for very different reasons and a combination of the two diverse styles will successfully enable you to both set an inspiring vision and make sure it is achieved.

Effective Leadership in customer service

Leadership focuses on setting direction and purpose and inspiring, engaging, motivating and nurturing the people to follow. When it comes to customer service, this is often about ensuring your teams are aligned behind the company’s brand and recognise their role in the wider picture. It also means engaging teams who are, by nature, often having to deal with difficult and emotionally complex customer issues.

How are you leading your customer service team?

  • Do you teams understand the wider role they play in the business?
  • Are you finding time to inspire and engage your team through effective coaching?
  • Does the culture of your customer care teams put the customer first?
  • Do you nurture the strengths of your team and allow them to work in a way that fits their skills best?

Effective Management in customer service

Management is all about control, organisation and implementation, making sure that the vision is achieved by focusing on the details and how to get there. One does not work efficiently without the other. A lot of the customer service training we do at Rubuss is focused on improving the way customer-facing teams are managed – looking for ways to reduce cost, improve efficiency and deliver a consistent customer experience through better interactions.

Are you managing your customer service teams effectively?

  • Does your management style encourage your teams to continually strive for their best?
  • Is customer feedback viewed (and used) as a positive way of improving service delivery?
  • Are you finding the right balance between the needs of the business, your teams and the customer?
  • Does constructive feedback and performance appraisal get enough time?

Learning when to be a leader and when to be a manager

A good leader challenges the status quo, looking at the big picture and where the department wants to be in the longer term. The manager focuses on the short term, assigning tasks and maintaining order through efficient systems and structures.

The challenge is first to develop both elements of your skills and then to recognise which style to employ in different situations in order to get the best results from your customer service team. This understanding is a core part of our Customer Service Management Training – helping team leaders and executives master their style and use it effectively.

We all have preferences in the way we like to work which will mean that some of us will find leadership more natural and will have challenges with managing a team and vice versa. Recognising where your strengths lie enables you to make the most of them and also focus your attention on developing the less natural behaviours.

This will allow you to become flexible in your approach, utlilising the style that best fits the situation and the individual and ultimately maximising the productivity of your team.

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