by Jordie Black
One of the most significant issues you’ll have as a help desk manager is working out effective ways to ensure you retain your customer support staff.
One of the easiest ways to stop your staff leaving for one of your competitors is working out how you can first prevent IT support burnout and second, have systems in place to ensure that your helpdesk team feels appreciated and understand what’s required to do a good job.
We'll explore some actionable strategies you can implement today to reduce the number of staff who decide to leave your company.
Many of these suggestions might seem self-explanatory, and that’s the beautiful thing about it - they are.
You should understand each suggestion within its own merit, but use this framework within your helpdesk, and you’ll develop a stellar team who love working for you and providing your customers with excellent support.
Retention Is Better Than Hiring New People
When you think about the skills your support team has, you suddenly realize they are some of the most important people on your side.
They’re empathetic and can put themselves in your customers' shoes to solve their problems efficiently.
Their job is to understand your product. So it goes without saying that your support team understands the nuances of your product in intricate detail.
Your current staff understands your customers. It's their job. A crucial aspect of their role involves talking to customers, so this becomes a task which most IT helpdesk support team members become experts at.
When you understand this, it becomes clear that having to hire and re-train new support staff will be expensive and time-consuming.
It's smart management to focus on making your current team happy rather than trying to retrain others to do the same job.
You’re in a lucky position though. No one really likes looking for a new job, it’s stressful and frustrating. Your current support staff is the best asset you currently have to help keep your customers happy..
Give Them Responsibility
One way to keep your customer support team engaged is to give them responsibility. When your team feels as though they have an essential role in your company, they’re more likely to produce their best work.
If the only tasks you give your support team are to work their way through many support tickets, it stands to reason that after a while they might become frustrated with the monotony of the work.
Instead, allocate specific tasks or projects to give each working day an element of variety. What’s more, when you link each project to an overarching business goal, the support team can see how their work directly affects the progression of the company.
Be Transparent About How Well Your Team Is Performing
One of the best ways to retain your staff is to be transparent in how they as individuals, their teams and the entire company are performing.
In a department like customer service, transparency is everything. Although you want to keep track of how well the team is doing, you don’t want to appear as though you’re watching your employees' every move. You need to give them freedom without it appearing as though they’re under 24/7 surveillance.
You can do this by highlighting both the good and bad results with a focus on the good. When you do have bad results, be careful how you express these with your team. When you do have to provide negative feedback, do so in a way that focuses on the good and establishes the “negative” as areas for improvement.
If you also foster an environment where your support team feels as though they can come to you openly and freely regarding issues they might be experiencing, they will be more likely to resolve issues before they have a chance to escalate.
Be Consistent With Staff Training
How much time within your staff's working week is allocated to training? For many employees, a job is not just something that helps pay the bills, but something they can be good at. A place where they are encouraged to flourish.
But unless you actively set aside time to offer training and support, your team will be unable to do that. Offer each of your team members the chance for professional growth and progression. When you do so, they’ll feel motivated and inspired.
You might provide training to teach how your product or business works, or enable practices that help your staff get promoted.
Choosing the type of training you opt for will largely depend on what each respective employee wants to gain from their employment. Have open and honest conversations with your customer support team to gauge what they want from their career, then evaluate how you can support each member to get there.
hink about it. If you’re in a role where you know your superiors have your best interests at heart and want success for you just as much as you do, you’re likely to stay with that company and do the best work you can.
If you opt for training your support staff within specialized areas of your company, it allows them to take further pride in their work. Again, linking back to the idea of responsibility. Employees who understand how important and valued their work is to the company are likely to do more to help out in any way they can.
If you’re unsure about what areas your team should specialize in, consider these:
● Specialized account support team. Whenever someone has an issue with their account, they’re directed straight to the support staff who specialize in dealing with account issues.
● Migrations - moving from one software to another is a tricky task for many people and will require a specialized support personnel who understands not only the migration process, but has the level of empathy required to deal with a potentially long and frustrating task.
● Billing - in most companies, there will be countless issues with billing. As money is often a sensitive subject, having a specialized team to handle all these requests can be beneficial for your customers.
Show Appreciation By Doing It Yourself
As the saying goes, if you really want to understand somebody you should walk a mile (or more) in their shoes.
The same goes for the way you should treat your entire customer support team. If you’re a CEO or senior-level staff member, you should spend some time getting to understand how things run for the entire support team.
We’re big advocates of senior-level staff getting to understand the helpdesk on a deeper level.
Once you’ve experienced the helpdesk yourself, you’ll be able to show appreciation for your staff based on what they truly desire.
Do you know what happens when you show appreciation for your staff? They’ll work harder, they’ll enjoy the work they’re doing.
And do you know what happens when your support team works harder and enjoys the work they do? They give better support to your customers!