From sales to customer service, employee performance management is top-of-mind for managers looking to reduce turnover, develop talent, and help employees work more productively.
In call centers, where a survey found the average employee longevity to be 3 years, managing employee performance is more important than ever. Effective coaching and the right employee performance management practices can enhance customer service while improving employee retention and job satisfaction. It’s a win all around – for customers, employers, and the employees themselves!
This article will teach you five essential employee performance management practices that you can use to get an overview of your team’s performance, enhance customer service, and retain your best people.
Why does employee performance management matter in customer service?
With growing demands on frontline customer service employees, many talented people are ready to jump ship at the drop of a hat. Perks like contests and gamification that can help to improve satisfaction are only part of a successful employee-retention strategy. Keeping people happy and engaged at work requires a mix of incentives and taking a deliberate and proactive approach to managing employee performance.
One of the main characteristics of successful employee performance management is that employees don’t perceive it as management “checking up” on them. The tactics in this article have been chosen for their potential to highlight each employee’s everyday efforts and contributions to the team in a way that simultaneously increases customer service agents’ engagement and the likelihood of them staying in their jobs long term.
A deliberate approach to managing employee performance can have far-reaching benefits for your organization and its customers. Here are two examples – one internally focused and one externally focused:
1. Improved Employee Retention
With the notoriously high rates of employee turnover in customer service, retaining employees is a significant advantage. Providing development opportunities, a career path, and regular feedback makes people feel valued. Looking into the individual characteristics of employee performance also allows managers to show interest in their employees’ day-to-day challenges and victories. These ongoing check-ins show that you’re invested in your employees’ success, which has been proven to increase employee loyalty.
2. Enhanced Customer Service
An estimated 90% of Americans cite customer service as a deciding factor in whether they do business with a company. So it’s not surprising that customer service managers are always on the lookout for new ways to enhance customer service. A 2020 survey found that 54% of respondents believed there was a correlation between high levels of employee engagement and happy customers. Keeping employees engaged by investing in their performance can enhance customer service and keep customer churn to a minimum.
5 Tactics for Managing Employee Performance in Customer Service
COVID has permanently changed the customer service landscape, and 53% of support teams have seen a rise in support inquiries vs. before the pandemic. If companies want to excel in this new climate, they must take a calculated approach.
Want to improve your remote team’s performance? Check out this article to find out exactly how.
Here are five employee performance management tactics that you can employ to improve employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention – and enhance customer service!
1. Set Clear Objectives and Expectations
High-performing teams often have a culture of trust, listening, and open dialogue. The bedrock of these values is a collaborative effort between management and employees to set clear objectives and make the company’s expectations known. Establishing and communicating measurable customer service goals (i.e., KPIs) is one of the most important things managers can do to help customer service reps thrive. This knowledge provides the whole company with a framework in which to operate – to achieve the greatest good. It’s much easier to achieve and measure success when everyone has a clear understanding of what’s expected.
2. Empower Reps to Make Decisions
Part of effectively managing employee performance is knowing when to hand over the reins. Empowering customer service reps to make decisions will give them feelings of ownership that will motivate them (and give them the authority) to provide the best service possible. Providing adequate and continuous training will help build the trust that employees will execute their daily tasks and outperform targets, which will go a long way in helping them find satisfaction in their work. When doing this, keep in mind that each employee will approach problem-solving differently. As long as they’re hitting their goals, it’s best to embrace those differences and let everyone bring their individual flair to their work.
3. Hold Regular Coaching Sessions
A strong team needs a strong leader. Coaching is a fantastic way to demonstrate leadership while facilitating employees’ career development. Different from the one-size-fits-all approach of training courses, coaching should be 1:1 and tailored to each employee’s needs. Since customer service teams can consist of many employees with different levels of expertise, experience, and approaches to service – this might seem like a daunting task. But if you invest the time, you’re likely to discover that it’s a worthwhile investment.
Coaching sessions will help you understand each rep’s strengths, weaknesses, motivation factors, and career goals. With that foundational understanding, you’ll be in the best position to collaborate, create actionable plans, and set up each of your employees for success. Over time, you’ll be able to use insights from your top performers to coach your middle and underperformers – and maybe even learn a few things yourself. Build your coaching sessions around empowerment, professional development, and continuous improvement – and then watch your employees blossom!
4. Incentivize Performance
Perhaps the oldest trick in the book, contests are a mainstay of many customer-facing organizations. In a giant leap forward from traditional contests, high-performing customer service organizations are increasingly turning to gamification for its proven ability to improve employee happiness, camaraderie, and retention. But more than that, gamification appeals to people’s desire for achievement, recognition, and rewards.
There’s a reason that top-performing customer service teams provide continuous feedback and acknowledgment of individual efforts: they are great ways to celebrate great performance, make your reps feel valued, and retain talent. Gamification is also an effective way to highlight particular customer service KPIs that your team should be focusing on. When everyone in your team is striving to perform on the KPIs most crucial to your business goals, your team will be well-aligned and bound for success. It’s a win-win!
5. Use Dashboards to Track KPIs
Of the many performance management tools available today, dashboards are one of the most effective and widely used. Dashboards help visualize the organization’s most important KPIs so that the team and individual employees always know how they’re doing. Real-time information displayed on a digital dashboard can provide a consolidated overview of customer service levels, satisfaction ratings, and how the department is performing against its KPIs.
To keep everyone working toward the same goals, some organizations display the team’s most important KPIs on flat-screen TVs where everyone can see them. Many managers find that this information is also an effective starting point for their 1:1 coaching sessions.
Enhance Customer Service with Better Employee Performance Management
To retain customers in today’s competitive landscape, it’s crucial to provide service that consistently exceeds expectations. With a carefully constructed performance management strategy, you’re one step closer to achieving customer service excellence!
Plecto’s customer service dashboard, gamification like instant notifications and contests, and coaching solutions can help your company meet the demands of today by visualizing and outperforming on crucial customer service KPIs like support tickets, phone calls, satisfaction ratings, and more! Integrate your CRM, telephony, and support systems with Plecto to get all your sales and service activities in one place – to improve efficiency and help your customer service teams provide outstanding service.
Why not test the waters? Sign up for a free 14-day Plecto trial today!