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6 traits of game-changing Customer Service Leaders

customer service leadershipWhen it comes to profitability, the key battleground has to be customer service. Most business leaders claim that the customer ‘is at the heart of everything we do’, but becoming customer-centric usually requires a pretty radical shift in company culture. Those who have made the change are leading the way in business design and are seeing a major impact on the bottom line. The key traits of these trailblazers include:


Understanding the intrinsic link between people, process, and the customer

Even with the best service strategy in the world, if your employees sound disengaged when speaking to customers, you will never be a trusted brand. Of course, clever recruitment and robust training are key, but even your most talented people will struggle to provide good service if they are handcuffed to substandard technology and poorly structured processes. The best customer-centric leaders recruit employees with a passion for helping people (no matter what their customer service experience), provide them with the tools they need, and then spend every waking minute thinking of ways to remove whatever barriers are preventing them from helping customers.


Keeping things simple

With a mind-blowing array of technology, as well as an ever-expanding choice of contact channels, the temptation is to over-complicate your customer service offering. However, the game-changers know that simplicity is key. Technology should be a way to make helping customers easier without adding extra levels of process. Great customer service leaders also constantly assess the customer journey and how it could be made simpler. Are there processes they have to go through that are purely there for the business’ benefit? Could these be removed to make it easier for the customer to buy? They also keep things simple from a contact point of view. They don’t try to stretch limited resources too far by offering lots of different channels, they choose the most appropriate for their customers and make sure they do that really well.


Setting effective, meaningful targets

Most customer service leaders have spreadsheet after spreadsheet choc full of KPIs, but unfortunately only a few provide any valuable business insight. Very few leaders actually test these targets to assess whether or not they carry weight with customers, which often means teams of people are wasting time and resources chasing worthless metrics. The best in the business challenge the status quo and continually strive to set targets that will drive the right behaviours and provide real business value. They look past the number and at the resulting outcomes.


Creating a culture that encourages self-development

True business leaders recognise the importance of coaching in customer service environments. Any interface with customers is usually fast-paced and emotionally charged, which makes offering support, encouragement and on-the-spot training absolutely vital. So if your team leaders are so bogged down with admin that they struggle to get time with the individuals in their care, your customer service is suffering. The game changers make sure coaching happens, come rain or shine. What’s more, they encourage agents to ask for supporting enable them to track their own performance and take ownership of their development.


Playing an active role in the contact centre

Inspirational leaders realise that a well-oiled contact centre provides valuable insight on brand, product, marketing and customer issues. They understand that their frontline probably know more about what turns customers on and off than anyone else and tap into this vital insight to drive operational improvement. They are also regularly present, walking the floors, talking to agents and soaking in the daily challenge. The phrase ‘cost centre’ never enters their minds and they make sure centres are well-funded and supported by all levels of the organisation.


Indulging in a little healthy plagiarism 

The best in the business understand that if you stand still complacency will set in. They also understand the value of sharing best practice and borrowing ideas from others. They regularly open their doors to other customer service leaders, and aren’t afraid to be challenged or be open to better ways of doing things. They embrace awards season as a positive way of recognising their people and create a culture that rewards innovation no matter where it comes from.  

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