This year, instead of setting some achievable personal goal, maybe it’s time to set some team New Year’s Resolutions.
I’ve kept exactly one resolution. It was in 2013, and I’d resolved to read one book a week. I made it over the finish line at 55 books (here are the receipts). I’d never felt more proud. It totally made up for all those resolutions I’ve broken over the years.
80% of us will break our New Year’s Resolutions by the first week of February, according to US News. This year, instead of setting some achievable personal goal, maybe it’s time to set some team resolutions.
Here’s seven totally doable, big impact resolutions you can make with your entire support team:
Set aside time for training
Instead of sending your team for a lap around the block, it’s time to set aside dedicated time for training. While training is usually associated with onboarding new employees, ongoing training is important for team development. We all get a lot of information handed to us when we start, and retention can decline over time. Ongoing training can serve as a reminder of best practices, which leads to better consistency and more effective agents.
Plus, things can change lightning fast! Formal training can help agents better process and utilize new information, tools and technology in their day to day work.
So, instead of resolving to exercise more, resolve to incorporate more formal training time into your schedule through:
- Weekly team ticket reviews
- Cross-departmental speakers and training opportunities
- Invite subject matter experts to present tips and tricks
Keep up with friends
Team bonding time
Because I move around a lot, I lose track of friends scattered across the globe. I frequently set New Year’s resolutions to be a better friend and keep in touch with friends who might not be located near me. This is also a great goal for customer support teams! As more teams become partly remote, you might not spend as much time together. This can make it hard to work together, because you don’t enjoy the same rapport as a co-located team.
Plus, the people you work with often make or break a job. Getting to know your colleagues can enhance job satisfaction. This year, make a resolution to reach out to colleagues you don’t know that well, either just for a coffee, or for a full team retreat.
A really nice resolution that applies in both your personal life and support life is to spread more happiness and joy. In customer support, this happiness is measurable. Nicereply measures customer satisfaction by including a one click survey at the bottom of every email. This helps them keep a constant pulse on how customers are feeling throughout the conversation.
Happier customers are more likely to stay customers. They’re more likely to recommend you to others. Plus, it’s just a nice thing to do. This year:
- Make it a habit to send out random acts of swag to customers
- Read and implement 11 unconventional ways to improve customer satisfaction
- Find ways you can go above and beyond with one customer a week
Lose some weight
Become more efficient
Who doesn’t want to shed some pounds after the deliciousness of a holiday season? It’s possible your support queue feels the same. You’ve realized that you can’t sustain the same growth without becoming more efficient. It’s time to become trimmer, more streamlined and more efficient as a team.
Reducing your contacts per customer (or Customer Contact Index) is a very worthwhile resolution to make. Not only does it help your team manage a larger number of questions, it also means your customers will face fewer problems when using your product.
So when you think of the “scale” of your New Year’s resolutions, think about scaling your team, not measuring your winter weight.
Attend a customer support conference
While I’m a huge advocate of making time to travel more personally, I also think travelling can help your support career too! Customer Support conferences are popping up all over the place, and can be a great way to learn more about our industry, get inspired or as Sarah Betts puts it: “make professional friends.” Whether you’re just beginning your support career, or are taking it to the next level as a Director, you’ll get value out of these conferences.
Committing time and money to travelling can be tough. But there’s options available to make it a cheaper goal. First, put together a proposal for your boss to foot the bill. Show the value you’ll get back from the conference, and how it will benefit the company. Commit to presenting a summary of the conference at a lunch and learn.
Secondly, apply for a scholarship. Many of the conferences offer free tickets to volunteers or those who can’t afford it on their own.
Finally, make it a budget trip. Ask if anyone local has a spare couch for you to sleep on. Pick a closer conference to go to. Keep to a budget for food (or again, ask your boss if they will let you expense it).
Get out there and make those professional friends!
Check out these conferences for some inspiration:
Support Driven’s SDX – Date TBA, Portland – more info at https://supportdrivenexpo.github.io/
Elevate Support – March 30th, 2018 – more info at
Relate Live – More info at https://www.zendesk.com/company/events/
Intercom Live – More info at https://www.intercom.com/tour
Say Yes to More Things
Try experiments, even if they might fail
The new year is a great time to be more adventurous. Say YES to more things you might not otherwise try. Go bungee jumping! Sign up for Tinder! Try the unusual fish appetizer!
Why not do the same in your customer support team? Try new experiments. Make hypothesis and test them out – even if you think they won’t work.
Innovation comes from trying new things. Commit to one crazy out of the box project each quarter, and see if anything sticks. At the very least, you’ll know what doesn’t work!
Get things done
Does chaos reign over your life? Does time management seem like a foreign concept to you? Apparently 20% of us are chronic procrastinators. If you’re one of us, maybe 2018 is the year you stop procrastinating and stop wasting time.
Give the Pomodoro method a try. Set a timer for 25 minutes and engage in focused work with no distractions until the time runs out. At the end of the time period, take a 5 minute break. Every 4 “pomodoros” take a longer 15 minute break. There’s more to it than that, but these simple steps will get you started.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions?
Why do we pick January 1st to make a change each year? What is it about a turning a new year on our calendar inspires us to make the life changes we know are good for us?
Regardless of whether we keep our New Year’s resolutions beyond February, the freshness of a new year is a great time to set new priorities.
New year, new you!