Employees need lots of support in help desk management, but there are two important starting points. Begin with the most fundamental needs of your help desk employees.
#1 Be clear about what you expect from your employees.
This sounds self-evident, but a shocking percentage of employees don’t have a clear understanding of what their employers really want.
- Purpose: What is the connection between their job and the goals of the company? They need to know why what they do matters. True job satisfaction requires a sense of purpose.
- Performance Expectations: Clearly define your expectations, in writing, regarding work ethic, attitude, professionalism and teamwork as well as specific work duties. Tell them how they will be evaluated, how often it will be done and what benchmarks they should aim for (ex. daily quality control checks, weekly call monitoring and call stats, quarterly performance reviews, annual surveys, etc.). Employees put an extremely high value on predictability.
- Priorities: If employees have conflicting tasks they need to know what should take precedence (ex. Do customer phone calls always have priority over other tasks?).
- Feedback: No one can perform well if they don’t get continuous feedback. Don’t wait for the end of a quarter or the end of a year to let your people know if they are doing a good job. The more often you give feedback, the more often they will strive to give you what you want.
- Praise: You can never praise genuinely good work too much. People need to know what they are doing right if you want them to do it again!
#2 Make sure employees have the information, materials and equipment they need to do a good job.
- Coaching: Initial training is not enough. Employees need ongoing coaching if you want to strengthen and expand their skills. This includes call coaching, continuing education and sharing best practices and experiences with their peers and supervisors.
- Reference Materials: Make sure that every employee has the information they need at their finger-tips. You don’t want to create service delays because employees have to share resources.
- Equipment: Get feedback from employees to confirm that they have the equipment they need to perform their duties efficiently. Also make sure that their equipment is actually in good working order. Nothing is more aggravating than struggling with defective equipment and having your requests for a repair or replacement go unaddressed.
Unfortunately, most of us have had an experience with a job where no one explained our importance, expectations were unclear or constantly changing, feedback was poor or non-existent, and we didn’t have the right tools for the job. Remember how frustrating and de-motivating that was?
What processes do you need to put in place to make sure you are not that kind of manager?
This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.