An astonishing 70% of employees report don’t feel engaged in their role, according to a recent Gallup poll. Now, managers are informed of the fact that happier, more engaged employees result in higher customer satisfaction and increased employee retention.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to keep your team motivated and engaged. But this can be difficult. As a manager, you need to balance “getting everyday stuff done” with broadening your team’s skill set.

So, how can you scale this fairly?

It’s time to have your employees do something new. Something other than their job. Something that’s not on their to-do list.

One way progressive offices like Trello and Payfirma are keeping their team involved is through job rotation or role diversity.

It’s a workplace strategy, almost like Google’s 20% time, which encourages innovation, but more focused to help staff develop skills that help them think about the wider impact of their work within the business.

It’s not as crazy of a policy as it may seem at first glance.

Employee Happiness

Doing the same thing every day tends to lead to burnout. By keeping employee activities fresh, you can decrease this employee burnout and keep churn low.

For example, new tasks for your support team don’t need to be traditional customer service roles.

Emily Chapman, Support Agent at Trello, says that as a result of handling a variety of projects on their support team, she’s picking up skills that keep her challenged and happy:

Personally, I like writing documentation. At my last job I wrote the documentation for how to do Twitter support, and the training guide.

Now Ben McCormack (Head of Support) is encouraging us to work on our programming skills, so I’ve been spending time going through Learn Python the Hard Way with the team. When we co-work we usually try to do something with that, and we’ve written a few internal Python scripts that we use for various reminder emails.

I love that Emily has expanded her skill set well beyond what’s required of an entry support agent. She’s creating documentation and training new staff.

Even more impressively, she’s using her new programming skills to improve automation within the support team – making things easier for customers and employees alike.

The Society for Human Resource Management found that career growth is one of the most important factors in employee happiness. A focus on professional development is the best way to make sure employees are loyal to the organization and satisfied with their work.

Rotating employees through challenges means employees stick around longer, and your existing employees will be super-charged with the skills and ability to always be improving.

The Customer Service Advantage

Given the time, all employees can double down on customer happiness initiatives.

With their in-depth knowledge, they can improve customer experience in more areas than just front line operations. In the long run – aren’t your customers the *only* reason for your business’ success?

While customer support is traditionally seen as a cost center, having employees contribute to more long-term, proactive projects are guaranteed to improve your bottom line and change the perception of customer support.

High-value activities such as personalized thank you’s, customer journey mapping, and self-service optimization allow your entire organization deliver an incredible customer experience from start to finish.

Here are 11 other quick projects your staff can take ownership of for a break in their day and lift in your bottom line:

Talk To Your Customers!

1. Call Happy Customers

How often do you get in touch with customers that are happy?

A recent Thank You experiment showed the benefits of simply proactively reaching out, and thanking a loyal customer for their business, no sales attached.

This particular company saw an increase of customer loyalty, shown by a 10 percent increase in sales over the next month.

As an added reason to get your front line team on these calls, they are perfectly trained to answer any “Oh, while I have you on the phone” questions that might arise.

2. Call Danger Customers

Take a look at your product data to identify customers that have made it clear there’s something they don’t love about you.

Dig out your latest surveys to find customers who gave you low ratings – these are usually customers who are at risk of canceling. Pick a few of these customers and have employees call them.

By simply asking, “How are you doing?” you might be able to find ways to help them get more value out of your product and retain a potentially churned customer.

3. Free Professional Services time

Do you have tasks that are traditionally outside the support you offer customers, but that you know customers are asking for?

This could be designing a side panel for a website, setting up custom dashboards, an audit of their account, etc.

Reach out to a customer and offer to do something nice and over the top for them pro bono. Your employees get to develop their skills, and customers get something valuable in return.

Optimize your Support Processes

4. Write new articles

Your support team knows better than anyone what questions customers need answers to, and they are skilled at communicating complex solutions.

When you give them the power to create and edit support articles, you ensure that your documentation is consistent, up to date, and written in a customer-friendly language.

Optimize that content!

TIP: Keep a list of highest priority articles in a Google Doc spreadsheet so that support reps can grab assignments as needed.

5. Improve processes

Knowledgebase articles aren’t a “set it and forget it” task. They need grooming to stay up to date with a changing product, and to be improved over time based on customer feedback.

Set your most experienced support reps up with a Knowledge Base Audit template, and enjoy watching your clients get even more answers themselves (which is what they want to do anyway).

Tagging user inquiries is another great way to quantify feedback, questions, and concerns. If you’re doing it correctly, you get actionable data.

If not, you’ll get 90 percent of tickets tagged as “General Inquiry.” By having support agents develop a repeatable process for tagging, you can improve your data in the long run.

6. Customer Journey mapping

To deliver the best customer experience, you need to be able to shrink the time from problem to resolution.

Do you know what your customers are required to do before they get to an answer?

The first step in improving the journey is to map it out. Create a task force to draw out the paths to resolution (from when the problem first starts) to some of your most common inquiries.

Are there holes in the journey? Are there ways to make the journey shorter and more pleasant?

Looking at your customer experience from this angle may give you some more ideas for new projects!

Community Love

7. Engage Your User Community

If you have a community forum where customers help each other, or are active on social, getting employees across the business engaged is a great opportunity to show your customers that your organization cares.

This also gives all employees a chance to experience the warm and fuzzy side of the business.

8. Give away Swag packages

Swag (AKA Sweet Ass Giveaways) is a great way to thank customers. If you have stickers, pins, t-shirts or even just a postcard, you can send out swag packages to your favorite users.

At one company I worked for, we each had a quota of two packages (stickers and a handwritten card) per week.

This was to encourage us to keep building relationships with our advocates. Buffer has recently posted about their methodology for swag, if you need some ideas.

Company wide programs

9. Social Responsibility

There’s more to community than just your user base. Take a look out your front door and see if there’s a community project you can join.

I’ve been involved in employee organized soup kitchen visits, Christmas hampers, and Habitat for Humanity weekends.

It’s a really simple way to feel good about the company you work for, and for team members to develop organizational skills by getting everyone involved.

10. Lunch and Learns

What an amazing way to showcase the hidden knowledge of your employees.

At Payfirma, we had lunchtime, peer-led sessions on networking, wearable technology, and social media.

Most of your staff have interests outside of their day-to-day work, and allowing them to share this only makes them shine brighter.

11. Plan the next all-hands meeting

Wait, you might say, isn’t that my job? Sure, technically. But why not empower one of your staff members with the responsibility?

They can pass on some unique knowledge or skills that they have, and try out a new role. After all, you don’t want to be the one running these meetings forever, do you?

Get Involved!

Happy employees stay longer, work harder and provide better experiences for your customers.

By incorporating value added activities into the daily routine, you’re improving your bottom line by improving your most valuable asset: your staff.

Do you have other boredom-busters that you and your staff love to incorporate into job roles?

Let us know below.