The power of Team Culture is extremely influential on the performance of our Customer Service Team and the quality of Service we deliver to our Customers. Team Culture is THE most important influencer.
In Customer Service, our goal is that each of our Customers will receive high quality Customer Service and an experience of us that will exceed their expectations on each and every call to our Organization. Each caller will have a memorable experience that will encourage him or her to return and to buy more.
To achieve this goal, we employ good recruits, train them well and pay a fair wage. Will this, then, ensure that this new Team Member will one day be capable of delivering excellent Customer Service? A better question might be, will the new Team Member even want to TRY to achieve a successful outcome for us and for our Customers?
The Power of Team Culture
The answer to this depends to a small degree on the person themselves. It depends to a much, much larger degree on the nature of the Team in to which they are placed - the Culture of that specific group. Within days of training, the group will be influencing this new person's thinking. They will talk about their role and their Customers in a way that reflects the beliefs and values of their specific group. 'These Customers are all stupid - they never listen properly'. 'Customer's are always blaming us, and it's not our fault'. 'Our products are not good and that's why Customers are always upset.'
Each of these statements reflect a DIFFERENT type of Team Culture. Each Culture is identifiable and the people within that Culture will behave in a predictable way with their Customers - the Culture will determine the behaviour. In the cases above, each group will behave in a way that will definitely NOT lead to a positive Customer Service experience. For example, a Team that believes that they are the experts and that they are above these really stupid Customers will be aggressive and impatient with their callers. They will not apply skills with their Customers and they will be resistant to any training. This Aggressive Team believes that they are not the issue, it is the Customers who are the problem!
Other casual statements made by Team Members will quickly identify the Submissive Team Culture and the Passive Aggressive Team Culture. The interesting thing about Team Culture is that it is so influential. New recruits quickly believe that the Team's understanding of the world is true and 'common sense'. They adopt the beliefs and attitudes that support that specific Team Culture and this drives the norms of behaviour within the Team - what is Ok to do or not do within this group. If we want to change the Team performance - we need to change the BELIEFS.
The Beliefs of a Successful Customer Service Team
A high performing Customer Service Team has a very identifiable Team culture - the Assertive, Customer Focused Culture. They have a set of beliefs, attitudes and norms of behaviour that ENABLES them to perform exceptionally well with their Customers and motivates them to continuously improve. Remember Team Culture comes from the shared beliefs of the Team. We achieve this Assertive, Customer Focused Culture by identifying the desired beliefs, and by constantly building and supporting these beliefs within our Team Culture.
It is possible to change the culture of a Company or simply your own Team. We change the culture by working at changing the beliefs.
The essential beliefs are -
1. This is a GOOD Company - worth working for.
2. What we do as a Company is of VALUE to our customers. (including Exceeding Expectations)
3. Our Customers are important. External are most important. Internal are customers too.
4. We are ALL part of this Company - connected to a shared purpose.
5. Our Team Purpose is important - we have a vital contribution to make to our Shared Purpose.
6. My work has value - I make a difference - what I do is important to the achievement of our Team Shared Purpose.
7. Every Team Member belongs to this Team. Each has responsibility to achieve, to meet Team Leader expectations. Each has responsibility to manage & exceed Customer expectations.
8. Success is good - achievement is good.
9. To succeed we must get better and better - as individuals and as a high performing Team.
10. We are a good Team - and next month / year we will be a BETTER Team.
These beliefs are the key to success in Customer Service. If you are on a Management Team, encourage your Managers to work on improving one belief per month. Use the same method if you are a Team Leader. Get the Team involved by brainstorming HOW we can improve each belief. You will soon reap the benefits in terms of better performance, increased motivation and improved job satisfaction.
About the author: Kate Tammemagi is a Customer Service Training and Consultant in Ireland - see http://www.focustraining.ie. She has extensive experience designing and delivering customized Customer Service Training Courses. See - http://www.focustraining.ie/focus/Main/customer_Service_excellence.htm
Author: Kate Tammemagi
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