Why Is It Getting Harder to Be a Good Customer Service Leader?

Person pushing a rock up a hill - challenge concept

Think it’s getting harder to be a good customer service leader? You’re not wrong!

Megan Jones, Editor at Call Centre Helper, recently interviewed Brad Cleveland, a well-respected consultant, keynote speaker, and course instructor, to uncover the trends that are redefining the game.

Customer Expectations Are Constantly Evolving

Brad Cleveland, Consultant, Keynote Speaker and Course Instructor

Customers today have ever-higher expectations on quality, response times, personalization, and more.

Not only this, but they’re forming these expectations around the best experiences they have with any organization – not just your direct competitors.

So, when anyone decides to up the ante, it impacts everyone!

Whilst I believe that’s a very positive driver for success in this industry, it undoubtedly adds more pressure to the role of being a customer service leader.

For advice on assessing expectations, read our article: How to Manage and Exceed Customer Expectations – With Examples

The Nature of Contact Centre Work Is Becoming More Complex

As self-service capabilities get better and better, the day-to-day volume of work coming into the contact centre is becoming more complex.

This has been a growing trend for several years, but it’s accelerated more recently, and is demanding a greater emphasis on hiring and training very capable employees who can handle these queries well.

People in speech bubbles with different contact devices
There are now more channels than ever
that customers want to be able to use.

There Are More Channels to Manage

Chat, email, video, text… There are now more channels than ever that customers want to be able to use.

Whilst this offers greater choice for the customer on how and when they get in touch, it undoubtedly creates more headaches for customer service leaders who have to manage all of the additional channels and make sure they all work together.

You Still Have to Maintain a Cohesive Culture – Even With Virtual Teams

Remote working has made leadership even harder – as many now manage people across different locations and time zones as standard.

Despite this, leaders still have a responsibility to maintain a cohesive company culture, inject some camaraderie, and make sure everyone is up to speed with the latest company knowledge. That’s a lot of plates to keep spinning!

If you want suggestions on how to make remote working a success, read our article: What I’ve Learned From Running a Contact Centre – Making Homeworking a Success

Compliance Is an Ongoing Challenge

Compliance with data security and other regulations (including GDPR) is an ongoing challenge in the digital world.

Leaders must be very judicious about protecting customers and their data – with serious consequences for those who get it wrong.

You Have to Get It Right With the Latest Tech

New technologies that are rolled out badly or misused can backfire and even create a new set of operational challenges, so it’s important to tread carefully.

New technologies that are rolled out badly or misused can backfire and even create a new set of operational challenges, so it’s important to tread carefully.

Of course, artificial intelligence (AI) is getting all the attention, but there are all kinds of technology advancements across core platforms and tools available right now, and leaders have got to make sure they’re integrating them in a truly strategic manner.

Not only that, but as many customer service leaders aren’t technology experts, the best leaders will have the right vision and objectives in place and pull in the expertise needed to succeed from colleagues.

Want to know what technology contact centres are using? Read our article: The Most Popular Contact Centre Technologies

Preventing Employee Burnout Can’t Be Ignored

It’s been a challenging few years, to say the least.

For contact centres in particular, coming out of the pandemic, striking the balance with hybrid working, and dealing with the fallout of supply chain issues (to name just a few) have fundamentally changed service offerings and customers’ needs.

All of which has created a far tougher working environment and put more pressure on staff, making it critical that steps are taken to prevent employee burnout.

For advice on how to spot the signs of burnout, check out our video article: What Is Call Centre Agent Burnout and What Are the Signs?


Are You Making Life Harder for Yourself?

In light of the above, effective leadership has never been more important! Are you rising to the challenge or being your own worst enemy?

Here are some common mistakes leaders make that inadvertently undermine their success:

No Vision for Customer Service

If there’s a lack of vision, the customer service leader and subsequently the entire team is unlikely to be getting the resources or the cross-functional support they need.

To turn this around, ask yourself ‘what’s our vision for our customer experience?’ and make sure that’s a foundation for everything that you do.

Mantras and vision statements are a great way to get all staff pulling in the same direction. For more information, read our article: Getting Started With Customer Service Mantras and Vision Statements

Keeping Insights Inside the Contact Centre

Contact centres act as the most powerful set of eyes and ears the organization has at its disposal. So don’t keep information inside the contact centre!

Instead, empower the contact centre to be a feed into the wider customer experience. For example, gathering and sharing key learnings about products, services, and processes. Really cultivate that awareness of the contact centre’s role in supercharging the organization as a whole!

Struggling Under an Ineffective Team Structure

Person under pressure
Are you buckling under the weight
of an ineffective team structure?

Are you buckling under the weight of an ineffective team structure?

So many contact centres right now aren’t structured for optimal success.

Why? There’s a propensity for contact centres to become very complex when our services are becoming more complex and customer expectations are evolving – as leaders tend to lean into creating specialized teams with different levels of expertise, and all that can get very complicated, very quickly!

Sounds familiar? Step back and ask yourself “how do we simplify this?” and “how do we create an environment where our team can handle a broad base of issues?” When you create a working environment that’s simple and effective, it’s a key enabler for success.

If you are looking for more great articles on customer service, read these next:

Author: Megan Jones
Reviewed by: Xander Freeman

Published On: 10th Apr 2024
Read more about - Customer Service Strategy, , , , , ,

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