5 tips on motivating your help desk employees – Part 1

Nov 25, 2011 | 5 comments

Some of the most important employees of your organization work at the helpdesk.

They are the first to deal with prospects and customers and your brand image depends a lot on how they do their job.

Considering how vital the customer service department is, many companies do a horrible job at managing it. Helpdesks usually look like a revolving door, with employees departing at fairly regular intervals for greener pastures within and outside the company. Most businesses in the US experience turnover rates of nearly 50% in the customer service function.

This churn hurts companies in multiple ways. First of all, a lot of time and money is wasted in training new batches of employees. And because these employees are not committed and motivated enough to stay, they can harm their employers’ reputation and cause severe financial loss during the course of their job. Customer loyalty is key.

This post will look at 5 tips companies and managers can implement immediately to motivate their help desk. The next post will be about 5 tips are related to the larger corporate culture that might take more time to implement.

1. Invest in training

One of the biggest reasons behind the underperformance of the helpdesk staff is inadequate training. When employees don’t know the answers to customer questions they get stressed out and their performance takes a nosedive. Train your helpdesk staff extensively so that they can handle any customer query lobbed at them.

2. Provide adequate tools

Help desk employees need to be backed up by cutting edge software if they are to do their job well.  Ticketing systems that manage customer emails, knowledge base systems that also let your help desk direct customer to online self service resources and chat systems are some of the tools that can hugely impact the quality of your service.

3. Trust your helpdesk

Your helpdesk will also not be motivated to give their best if you don’t trust their professional judgment. You need to let them take the final call on customer service issues. You can show your trust by getting rid of scripts. These end up irritating customers and agents without solving any real problems. You can also stop micromanaging each and every aspect of an agent’s job or second guessing and overturning decisions that they have made.

4. Provide sufficient incentives

Even well trained and fairly autonomous employees will lose interest in work if their successes are not recognized by higher ups. The easiest way to acknowledge their efforts is to say thanks for their hard work. This can take the form of perks like gift vouchers, team lunches, telecommuting and flexible timing. You can also award financial bonuses though you will have to be careful not to make them look like entitlements.

5. Reward publicly, chastise privately

While rewarding your high achievers publicly is one of the best ways to motivate your agents. Also pointing out their mistakes in front of others can contribute to a toxic work environment. Meet the guilty employees in private, point out their mistakes and make sure no repetitions occur. Most people would get the message and those that continue to stumble are not fit for your organization anyway.

Is your business working with an unmotivated helpdesk? Have you taken steps to solve the problem? Share in the comments section below.