Keeping Up Morale in a Demanding World
Guest Blogger: The Hilb Group, LLC
Dedicated, conscientious, professional, and effective customer service representatives are as valuable as gold. These key people, however, can face enormous workplace stress.
Ensuring that customers are heard, happy, assisted, and supported is tough enough under the best of circumstances…and today’s world is far from that!
Supply chain shortages, shipping delays, inflation, and an increasing lack of civility on the part of customers has made this difficult job even harder and more stressful.
Just as important as maintaining customers is the consistent quest to recruit and retain qualified customer service staff willing to go the extra mile for your business and its customers.
So what can you do? Consider these helpful suggestions to keep your staff motivated and feeling valued.
Continual reinforcement of employee value
Reach out to each individual to reinforce your appreciation of their work and emphasize their value. Repeated reinforcement that you are aware of the stress they are under is the first step in making employees feel heard and appreciated.
- Be sure to encourage an “open door” to management anytime a staff member needs to express specific concerns, or merely wants to vent.
- Be available, even before or after work hours, to listen.
- Provide additional training, especially on how to effectively handle difficult situations.
Implement stress relief strategies
Build stress relief activities into the regular business day, such as:
- Allow for additional break time, particularly when coming off a difficult encounter with a customer.
- Encourage staff to take a walk outside to relieve tension if they find that frustration is building.
- If you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as part of your benefits package, publicize it and encourage employees’ use. It’s free, confidential, and staffed with people who can help.
Reward excellent work
When you have people who go “above and beyond” deliver tangible rewards for their exceptional work. Such incentives could include:
- Public acknowledgment of the good work they are doing.
- Gifts of appreciation such as gift cards for coffee…or better yet gasoline.
- A mechanism for peers to acknowledge the efficacy of their teammates.
- Bringing in lunch for all from time to time.
- A paid day off coupled a gift card when someone has done truly exceptional work.
Flexibility in scheduling when stress becomes overwhelming
When you recognize that a staff member is experiencing extreme stress you may choose to:
- Assign them to different duties which are not customer/supplier facing for a period of time.
- Encourage them to take a day off if they need a break.
- Consider changing their work schedule if it will help to alleviate stress.
Celebrate the “Yesses”
Not all encounters with customers/suppliers are difficult. Have your staff report “good” outcomes, such as:
- When a customer or supplier is pleasant to work with, have management reach out directly to thank them for their business and courteousness.
- Publicize these “great to work with” customers internally so that, if they reach out to another staff member, that person can thank them again.
- Always keep in mind that positive reinforcement of good behavior – whether staff or clients – is essential.
By acknowledging a situation and taking specific concrete actions to assist and support, you should find that your customer service staffs, and all your employees, are better able to cope.
And remember, your customers and suppliers are under just as much stress as you and your staff. Encourage your team to listen as well as to respond.
About the Hilb Group, LLC:
The Hilb Group is a Risk Management Firm which specializes in Property & Casualty Insurance, Safety, Employee Benefits, and Human Resource Consulting. Hilb’s Risk Management team works with you to reduce your total cost of risk through proactive loss prevention and safety services that help reduce frequency and severity of losses, protect employees, and safeguard your organizational assets. Hilb’s service is unparalleled. We consistently exceed our client’s expectations. The growth and success of our organization is derived from a simple, but a highly effective formula that embodies the following six critical elements that differentiate us from our competition.
Be sure to attend "Be a Monday Morning Quarterback on Saturday" presented by Frank J. Zych Jr of the Hilb Group on Wednesday, August 31st at the 2022 NATDA Trailer Show, and visit the Hilb Group at Booth 556 on September 1st or 2nd.
This content is provided with the understanding that The Hilb Group, LLC is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice.
Guest posts and comments represent the diversity of opinion within the light to medium-duty trailer industry. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the North American Trailer Dealers Association who shall not be held liable for any inaccuracies presented.