Editor’s note: Steve writes, speaks, and consults on customer service..
Very simply, a manager’s role is to help prepare their service reps to be successful. So successful, in fact, that their continual improvement makes them a likely candidate to become the manager, thereby replacing their boss. Only a courageous manager, with a keen eye on his future will have enough guts to put himself out of a job. You may ask, “Why a manager would put his job in jeopardy?” The answer is simple, so he can move up the corporate ladder, stretch his skills and learn something new.
In working with customer service managers countywide, a most common trend is the lack of management knowledge, specifically personnel management. Managers must step up their effort and to lead by example. In a customer service environment, the lead-by-example approach will have the most dramatic impact on a service reps experience.When a manager sets behavioral expectation standards for service reps and then displays behavior congruent to those same expectations, the service rep has no choice but to follow suit. Otherwise, the service rep will soon be warned by the manager, who understands the importance of taking corrective action. However, when a manager’s behavior is incongruent to his own expectations then service reps become confused and gravitate towards behavior that is easier for them, rather than what is best for their employer.Another vital aspect of establishing expectations occurs when a manager explains how behaviors affect the company as a whole. An employee’s enthusiasm and commitment to doing their job well, comes from knowing that their performance has a positive effect on the company’s success. With an understanding of the big picture, an employee sees how their work connects with the work of others. This broad perspective helps avoid the narrow view that reiterates, “These few tasks are my job and that’s all I need to know.”
Employees can’t collaborate and link their efforts to larger company goals if they can’t see past a single task or set of responsibilities