Written especially for todays customer service team leaders, supervisors and managers, Management Essentials is a powerful tool that will sharpen your organizational, coaching, training, and motivating skills.
To learn more about Management Essentials, and to see its helpful Q&A format, just read page 21 below.
Effective Communication Skills
Q. How can I improve communications with my staff?
A. Managers have to use a variety of communication methods when interacting with frontline staff. Face-to-face communications are particularly important. Its a two-way process, one that requires an open mind. You must be willing to hear what your CSRs are saying, as well as communicate your own messages. To communicate well as a manager, you need to hone your active listening skills, be aware of basic body language, and avoid words and phrases that shut down communications.
Its your job to make sure your department and company goals are met through the productiveness of your staff. Therefore the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is important. If you have spent time as a CSR, you probably spent much of your day interacting with your customers about their orders, shipments, products/services and other account-related information. As a manager, your communication responsibilities expand to include giving CSRs feedback on their performance, offering direction on specific tasks and work projects, ensuring that CSRs and/or teams are not pursuing competing objectives, interacting with other departments to ensure service flows smoothly throughout the company, and making sure that efforts are not being duplicated.
If that seems overwhelming, keep in mind that you have more channels by which to communicate, too — in person and through email, memos, voice mail, bulletin board postings, manuals and handbooks. While reps do most of their communicating with customers over the phone, a managers interaction with staff is primarily face to face, so lets focus on that method.
Avoid negative responses
If you want your CSRs to listen to you, you have to listen to your CSRs. Its got to go both ways. Most managers want the information to flow down — but it has to flow up, too. Your CSRs should feel that they can come in and tell you that theres a problem, and give a possible solution — rather than management always telling CSRs what the problems and solutions are.
In most companies, managers and supervisors do too much critical listening with their employees. For instance, when a CSR comes to you with an idea or suggestion, do you say: We tried that last year, or It costs too much, or That would take too much time?
Thats called the yes-but response. It shoots the idea down. It also discourages the employee from coming to you with ideas.