Career Center: Motivated Employees for Excellent Customer Service

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By Cindy Stephens

Imaging service managers require a wide range of expertise, skills and knowledge to fulfill their specific day-to-day responsibilities. Additionally, it takes a very special type of leader to develop an environment that builds a loyal, motivated and productive team to accomplish the organizational goals and requirements that result in excellent customer service.

Specific operational skills are crucial to effective operational and staff management. Most leaders have the skills to manage, but often forget some of the more important skills to achieve an environment to motivate and inspire employees.

A critical element to a leader’s success is effective communication with their employees. Daily or weekly staff meetings are important, and newsletters are very effective. One quality of good leaders is to be visible and available to your staff. It is important to participate and be involved with your staff on a daily basis to build loyalty and reinforce your efforts to build a motivated team.

Start each day with a smile and positive greeting to each employee. Exhibiting energy, enthusiasm and optimism goes a long way in demonstrating a leader’s confidence. A manager’s positive attitude and honesty will help create an environment of trust and loyalty. These characteristics provide the structure or environment to motivate and inspire employees and encourage workplace unity.

Provide leadership and direction regarding departmental and organizational goals, vision, core values and objectives to achieve success. Share the organization’s mission and explain how the team’s actions and involvement will contribute to the success of the organization. Provide clear expectations and set specific standards to accomplish departmental goals. Provide a framework for employees to do their job, but do not micro-manage. Be prepared to step in and provide additional guidance as needed.

Treat your staff with respect and recognize their contributions to the team. Create a climate of trust and encourage employees to speak up about issues. Offer solutions to problems, but also allow your staff to share their thoughts on acceptable solutions.

Motivated and happy employees are essential to a cohesive team that contributes to successfully accomplishing their duties and to providing excellent customer service. Leaders should understand what motivates their employees if they want to inspire and energize the team. Get to know your staff, both professionally and personally.

There are many other opportunities to build relationships and influence your team. Be creative and think of fun ways to involve your team in relationship building events. Build relationships within your department with birthday celebrations. Occasionally bring in bagels or donuts for the team to share. Have monthly socials such as Pizza Fridays, Breakfast Tacos, Tuesday Tacos, nclude healthy options such as fruit and salads. Involve your staff in the choices and help to make these social gatherings a success by allowing them to bring their favorite dishes.

In addition to excellent communication skills, organizational skills are very important to manage your staff and stay on top of priorities. Juggling priorities throughout the day requires exceptional organizational skills. Efficient leaders can fulfill their specific managerial requirements while assisting others, creating an environment that builds trust within the department.

People often leave their jobs because they feel unappreciated as a member of the team or organization. Be sure to recognize personal and team accomplishments and reward employees for their dedicated efforts. Financial incentives such as a pay increase or bonus based on annual performance appraisals motivate employees, but it is just as important to provide incentives for good performance on specific tasks or projects.

Demonstrate sincere appreciation for individual and team accomplishments with hand-written notes or verbal praise during staff meetings. Offer discount cards or free coffee at a local café or coffee stand. Take the team out for lunch or have it catered to the department. There are many ways to show your sincere appreciation and these “little things” go a long way when it comes to employee motivation and loyalty.

There are many other ways to increase motivation. Empower your team to continue educational and professional growth and encourage creative feedback to improving customer service and departmental changes.

Offer flex time to individuals who prefer to come early or stay later due to traffic or even for personal, family conflicts. A parent who has to drop off or pick up a student can take advantage of the flex time hours and not feel stressed about conflicts between work and family requirements.

A happier, motivated team nurtures confidence, builds loyalty and improves productivity. Motivation is effective in leading a department to successfully provide excellent customer service.

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