Customer service teams: the time for more service advocacy is now

Customer service teams are often taken for granted.

Some of you may think that that is a strong statement. But, if you look up the expression “to be taken for granted”, an idiom within the English language, you will find that it means:

To underestimate or undervalue someone or something; to not properly recognise or appreciate someone or something.

OR

To expect someone or something to be always available to serve in some way without thanks or recognition; to value someone or something too lightly.

Given those definitions, I think it is fair to say that many organisations and their employees take the work that customer service teams do for granted. This is not because they don’t care. I think it comes about because they just don’t understand the scale and the nature of the work being done. 

As such, they default to expecting things to work and problems to be solved. I’ve seen this happen several times in many different organisations that I have worked with and researched. 

The problem is that this lack of understanding also means that customer service teams and departments often get overlooked, are under-funded and resourced and are not valued or consulted on important and relevant issues.

The reality, however, is that contact centres are often the hidden gem in an organisation.

They hold incredible amounts of data, insight and talent that can help build a brand and deliver growth and profitability. 

But, here’s the thing.

People not understanding the work that customer service teams do is not their problem.

It is a problem for the customer service teams themselves and their leaders.

And, if you are a customer service leader, then that makes it your problem.

So, imagine what would happen if you and your team helped your colleagues understand the work that you do? 

Imagine if you produced a monthly internal review or newsletter to help your colleagues understand what your team did. Imagine if it covered not just your satisfaction scores for that month but also how many phone calls and emails and other messages you had received, whom they had come from, what they were about and how the team had performed in answering them. How about if it also shared positive feedback quotes from customers as well as news of new initiatives you were working on.

What would happen if you put aside a couple of hours a month to produce a newsletter like that and did so on a consistent basis?

Well, one client of mine did precisely that.

And, do you know what the reaction was?

Many of their colleagues, after receiving their monthly review, wrote to them saying things like…

  • ” Thanks so much for the work that you do”
  • ” I didn’t realise…..”
  • ” I didn’t know how much work…..”
  • “Wow….”

Then, month by month as they continued to produce their monthly review…. 

  1. People started to pay attention. 
  2. The visibility and importance of the work they did went up.
  3. Their work gained increased respect.
  4. Projects got funded. 
  5. The team got consulted on more issues. 
  6. The team felt more valued.

As a customer service leader, you know that the work that your team does is important. But, I am guessing that you also know that it often gets taken for granted. 

But, understanding and awareness does not happen by accident.

It requires effort and advocacy. If you are not doing it already, a monthly internal newsletter is a great and easy place to start.