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Being a customer service agent can be hard. You’re not only on the front line of (mostly) customer complaints, but also often held directly responsible for their issue. But as happy customer service teams make happy customers, it’s imperative to create a highly motivated care team. A key component of this is in how companies create their internal social care teams. We find that the most successful way is to hire social care agents by hand-selecting them from among the best of your contact center.

So with the best of the best, how do you motivate them to do even better?

It’s all about getting them fired up about their jobs and about social. By showing your employees you appreciate their expertise, and by giving them the tools they need to do it well, you’ll motivate them far more effectively than any monetary reward ever could. And besides, social media support can be fun.

9 Ways to Motivate Your High-Performing Social Care Team

  1. Give recognition and praise: It seems obvious, but recognition is free and vastly underused. Plus, have you ever realised that eulogies are misplaced? We always wait until people are gone to tell them how much they matter to us. Start eulogizing your agents daily, give recognition freely, and never assume that they already know how you feel. Make that praise public with a wall of fame in the office where you post their top social responses for all to see.
  2. Encourage creativity: Top employees are motivated by feeling like they have a say. If you’ve established a social playbook replete with templates and scripts, you should feel comfortable allowing agents to insert some personality, test variations, and share what works best with the rest of the team.
  3. Be truthful: Always be transparent with your team. If you aren’t, and you hide things, or if you’re unrealistically positive, your team will learn to distrust you. For example, if a negative social post escalates into a company-wide crisis and you tell them that it’s no big deal when it clearly is, they’ll question your judgment. Call it like it is, move on, and show that you trust them to handle the truth.
  4. Empower agents: Free your agents from the shackles of process and empower them to resolve customer issues in as few steps as possible. This can even be done in the form of budget to surprise and delight your customers. This might mean arming them with a social care software and it might mean going to bat for them internally to cut down on bureaucracy and paperwork.
  5. Foster team spirit: In sports teams, motivated athletes try harder when they know it’s for the greater good. Everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging and you can instill this in your team by creating team-wide contests and making mentorship a key requirement for promotion.
  6. Gamify things: Point systems tied to prizes have the power to elevate routine tasks into exciting diversions. Create contests around social metrics (sentiment, FRT, AHT) with prizes like bottles of wine or additional vacation days.
  7. Respect their life balance: Employees’ lives outside of work are what inspire them to show up and are key to their effectiveness. If you recognize this and respect their time off with flexible scheduling and a no-questions-asked policy around family needs, you’ll find that agents are more motivated during their work hours.
  8. Allow them to move on: Your employees won’t be with you forever, and the average agent tenure is less than two years. Do your best to retain them, but when they must leave, let them go. (No kidnapping.) Suppressing their career ambitions only leads to ill will, complaints, and a negative mood in the office.
  9. Automate everything: It’s easy for even top agents to get discouraged when they’re bombarded with repetitive, mundane requests from customers like changing passwords or checking balances. Free them up to deal with more exciting and varied issues by automating inbound requests with self-help solutions, dispatcher-like AI chatbots, and automation rules.