In order to create a customer service team from scratch, I would start with a plan containing what I am setting out to achieve, what resources I require to create the team and going forward how I will maintain resources and manage the performance of my team.
My resource plan would include the physical resources I would need such as:
- Human Resource – Based on what roles are involved.
- Environment – Costs involved in property/office space, lighting.
- Equipment – IT hardware and software (PC/printer/fax/photocopier/phones), office furniture, office stationary.
- Training of workforce – Additional/Temporary staff, Initial outset costs, time involved.
I would need to consider how much of each resource I need based on supporting the estimated customers expected. This will determine the labour resource required, how many full time and part time staff I need to complete the task factoring in the skill level of the employees, the number of desks/PC’s and how big the office space needs to be to accommodate the team and customers.
I would also need to consider the costs per item and per day and the timescales of completing tasks to work out expected productivity.
To make the business sustainable I will need to factor in the needs of the customer base in order to meet them for example, how accessible the office is to the public and whether there is a lift to accommodate all customers. These considerations not only apply to customer but also to the workforce in line with adhering to the Equality Act 2010.
3 ways in which the resources will be managed
In order for employees to deliver a good level of customer service, the resources laid out in the initial planning of the team must be sufficient and well planned. This involves the forecasting of customer demand being well calculated to ensure staffing is at the optimum level to deal with the workload, not having the correct staffing levels will lead to an ineffective and un-motivated team, and therefore it is to be reviewed on a regular basis so that changes can be made where needed. This is to be managed by a Human Resources department or line manager of the team, IT systems could also be used to manage the amounts of resources used.
Managing time effectively is the responsibility of all employees; this requires organisational skills and planning. The team working together to schedule work in a systematic way will result in a more efficient way of working, this in turn increases productivity providing time to deal with more customers on a daily basis. Inadequate time management will lead to resources being under-utilised or over-exhausted. To reduce time losses to the team, each individual’s productivity will be reviewed and where needed, training will be provided to better manage time on a daily/weekly basis.
IT systems need to be kept up to date as they are an invaluable resource for customer service based teams therefore I would have a virtual IT team available that can attend the office as and when required and incorporate online fixes as early as possible to minimize the impact on service delivery to our customers. So that the business can still operate in the instance of loss of IT, I would also include clerical/contingency processes that can be used in place of IT systems when they unavailable such as forms, letters, templates etc.
One way to reduce IT issues could be to have timeframe standards for how long information will be stored for depending on the type of information the documents contain, i.e. customer data will only be held for 12 months, if it has not been accessed within the last 12 months, it will auto delete after this period has past. This would ensure the company do not hold unnecessary information for prolonged periods whilst complying with the General Data Protection Regulations.
Why performance management is important
The importance of performance management is to gain the most productivity, whilst maintaining a happy workforce to achieve the best outcome for our customers, in line with the organizations goals and targets in the most effective and efficient way.
This can be applied through setting targets, these need to be:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
As part of employee’s job descriptions it will state the company’s objectives and stipulate that as part of their contract they will achieve specific measures. By setting goals this provides standards and measures for employees to perform to meaning that if an employee is not achieving the agreed targets, a plan will be put in place to help improve the employee’s performance to reach the required standards.
When poor performance is identified, I would tackle this by inputting a support plan at the earliest opportunity based on the individual and their needs. This may involve reviewing performance more frequently, checking for gaps in knowledge, training/coaching, observations and confidence building.
In order to identify whether employees are meeting their targets, observations via a manger and systems that record and track performance are used. Benchmarking to compare team members against each other and your team against similar teams can also highlight areas of concern to be addressed. At regular intervals I would set up performance reviews to ensure the employees are on track whilst discussing their well-being and offering any support to improve performance where needed.
The higher performing the team is, the higher the customer satisfaction ratings. I would monitor the team’s ratings to check for dips in service delivery and attain reasons for this to resolve any issues. This can be measured by completion of customer surveys on a frequent basis which also identifies feedback on any areas of improvement and if there is anything the customer would like to suggest to improve the service they receive. The data obtained from these surveys is recorded to provide employees with qualitative and quantitative feedback to provide motivation to deliver excellent service.
- Website: Gov.uk, Equality Act 2010, Available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance
- Website: Tenstep.com, Steps to create a resource plan, Available at: https://tenstep.com/use-these-three-steps-to-create-a-resource-plan/
- Website: Flevy.com, Ways to manage resources more efficiently, Available at:Nhttp://flevy.com/blog/4-effective-ways-to-manage-resources-more-efficiently/
- Website: Gov.uk, General Data Protection Regulations, Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation
- Website: mindtools.com, SMART meanings, Available at: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm