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Five ways to keep your customer service team off the naughty list

Celebrating the holidays with friends and family can be some of our most memorable times, but getting ready can sometimes be as stressful as buying a new car or taking the SATs. Not only does your customer support staff have their own celebrations to plan and presents to buy, but they also need to stay upbeat while managing a higher volume of calls.

Through my time running’s WOW customer service team, I have a lot of experience in trying to help support teams maintain a positive attitude during busy times. Here are some tips for keeping your team happy and motivated so they stay off the “naughty list” during the holidays:

1. Get help with whole company support. Everyone from the CEO to the receptionist to the person who does payroll should be prepared to pitch in during busy times. Ideally, customer service training should be part of your onboarding process, but even if it’s not, you can still order some pizzas on a Friday afternoon and get everyone trained so they are ready to jump in to help your team at a moment’s notice.

2. Have a lottery. We measure how many positive CSATs scores each agent gets and give them a “lottery ticket” for each one. At the end of the month we draw a winner, which is usually a small gift card. Since each agent gets a ticket for each positive response, it isn’t just the person who gets the most positives who wins. Everyone has a chance but your chances go up the more you get. This is a great thing to do all year, but its worth it to enhance the prizes over the holidays.

3. Schedule a power lunch. Foster collaboration and tackle difficult issues when you order in for lunch. While your agents are enjoying some delicious food they can also work on some tough cases together. It’s a great way to reward people for helping each other, and you can knock off some gnarly cases at the same time.

4. Recognize their other lives. At our team meetings we ask everyone to take turns telling us what they did over the weekend. We do this to recognize that we all have lives outside of work and that we value those lives, even when we’re all nose down to the grindstone. Some extra time off in January to enjoy those outside lives when the holiday rush fades doesn’t hurt morale either.

5. Encourage telecommuting. You can ease the stress for on your team without sacrificing customer experiences if you have a mobile customer support solution. It won’t make the long, long line at the post office any shorter, but employees will be happier when they can multi-task and customers will get the help they need – fast.

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