Interestingly, highly engaged workers have 10% higher customer satisfaction ratings than workers with low engagement. (Gallup Study). 10% might not seem like a big swing at first glance. But consider: If you measure Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) on a scale of 5, 10% is the difference between a 4.3 and a 4.7 rating. If you have a Call Center Quality measurement on a percentage basis, it would be the difference between an 83% and a 91% score. Who wouldn’t be doing the happy dance to celebrate moving that needle!
In fact, not only does the level of employee happiness impact Customer Satisfaction, Glassdoor just released a study showing that Happy Employees = Higher Stock Prices. Investors have a higher perception of the value of companies who are able to create a positive workplace.
And I can’t think of any person who has more impact on employee happiness than your front line supervisors. They hold the onerous responsibility for the care and feeding of your biggest group of employees, your front line representatives. Here are 7 ways supervisors can make or break your culture:
- Do your supervisors teach reps to take ownership of their personal growth? It’s exhausting to be that supervisor who cares more than the individual rep about performance, a bit like pushing a boulder up the hill. Teaching ownership requires high effort, but once taught the work gets so much easier. It never gets easier to push the boulder up the hill.
- Do your supervisors clearly communicate expectations and hold reps accountable for their results? How can anyone cross the finish line if they don’t know where that line is drawn? Or worse, if the line is constantly moving.
- Can you supervisors show empathy without becoming part of the drama? Unless you manage a call center you have no concept of the potential for drama in the personal lives of our front line representatives. It is critical that our teams believe that their supervisors care about them on a personal level. And supervisors need to be able and willing to help reps through difficult situations. However, disaster is certain if a supervisor gets “sucked in” and becomes part of the emotional rollercoaster.
- Are your supervisors consistent and fair when evaluating performance or applying policy? I’ve found that reps may not always like or even agree with the expectations we set. That doesn’t mean they won’t work to achieve those goals when presented well. But when a supervisor is inconsistent, morale and the willingness to stretch to achieve those goals goes out the door. More than anything, reps want to be treated fairly.
- Do your supervisors know what Meaningful Recognition looks like? Are they aware that generic praise actually hurts more than it helps? It says to the rep “you aren’t important enough for me to take time to go into details”. I recently received a pre-printed wedding thank you note. If I hadn’t known that the check had cleared, I would still be wondering if she actually received my gift. She just went through the motions, a fairly meaningless gesture.
- Can your supervisors “let go” and practice real empowerment? I’ll bet most of you have a great set of guidelines that empower your reps to make decisions when caring for customers. But often a supervisor has difficulty really letting go and creates a culture of doubt for those reps. Reps then feel that they need to run everything by their supervisor so they “don’t get in trouble”. And now the goal of empowerment is defeated. If your supervisors is always swamped with rep questions, take another look!
- Are your supervisors good Change Communicators? Or has the evil “gossip monster” shown up too often? Even little things like changing the color of your walls can set up gossip if there is no explanation. Throw in a big change and it is critical that the why and how are explained to keep fear away.