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Customer Service Representatives

Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), Customer Service Specialists (CSSs), Assistant Manager Gabrielle Moore and Branch Manager Subu Dasari arrive fully prepared in the meeting and they have a clear picture of mission and goals. They talk openly and listen intently to one another. All members freely share resources and work out their disagreements. They remain open to new diversified ideas.

As a result, Concord Branch achieves top position for sales and customer service in South West Sydney region and CSRs, CSSs and Assistant Manager Gabrielle Moore receive ‘Top Performer of The Month’ or ‘Top Performer of The Year’ certificates regular basis. Branch receives various gift vouchers and other kind of incentives from regional office very often and Subu never forgets to thank his team members for their achievements.

Team members of Concord Branch are highly motivated. They feel like a valued member of the team and a sense of ownership. This feeling helps them to feel more ingrained in the bank and this sense of personal investment encourages a sense of ownership of their work for the bank. They work not only for the bank but also to not let their team down. Working with a team exposes new CSR and CSS to the

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method and work ethic of potentially more experienced CSR and CSS, which can help them learn more about their jobs in a faster manner than simply trying to teach them. Getting on job experience with their efficient coworker can not only help a team member learn their job, but it also provides a sense of motivation and establishes expectations.

Team members of Concord Branch are synergized and the team work is multiplicative. They are more likely to bring vigor and enthusiasm to the task. As a result, quality of work increases and faster the work process. Team member of the Concord Branch works in a highly motivated environment. That is why this branch of Commonwealth Bank has typically low absentee rates and high productivity levels in terms of sales and customer service. Regional office has identified that team member of this Branch is more loyal to the Bank than any other Branches.

Motivational Disadvantages of Using Team in An Organization: On the contrary, if manager fails to create motivational environment in the team, then team members can be de-motivated easily and in turn, team fails to achieve its goal and objectives. Time and again studies reveal that team fails because manager has not built a strong team of supporters and collaborators. This generally happens because of the team manager’s insensitivity to team members. This unwillingness or inability to understand the perspective of others has been diagnosed as the primary reason managers are not successful in their career (Manners 1983).

Mascot Branch of Commonwealth Bank is an example of less performing team where CSRs, CSSs and Assistant Manager Atri Bose are displaying a lot of forming behavior often lack clarity about why they and others are on the team and how they will work together to achieve team objectives. As a result, there is a lot of cautious and guarded communication testing of the waters. Sometimes storming behavior is apparent when the Branch Manager Lynn Habib or Atri Bose attempts to clarify roles by dictating who will do what , with whom and when. As you might suspect, there is little commitment to adhering to roles that CSRs or CSSs had little or no say in defining. Team members of Mascot Branch have commitment to working together collaboratively, but little specificity in terms of role expectations, authorities and coordination requirements.

Lynn Habib is not able to point her people in the right direction effectively, cant give them the big picture, cant get them to imagine how they would feel using the bank products or services and she is locked into an activity trap. She develops the goal and it is clear to everyone, but she can not create a commitment to it and unable to make certain that all CSRs and CSSs are constantly aware of it and constantly working toward it. To achieve the goal, Lynn Habib does not have constructive checkpoints or activities to get the team to the right direction and as a result CSRs and CSSs are not committed and motivated. They are not getting timely regular specific feedback from Lynn Habib or Atri Boss. Therefore they don’t know how they are doing so they know what to do. It creates lot of confusion among them.

They are less informed about their performance results, variances from plan, customer satisfaction, sales targets, effective or ineffective behavior on the team. However, they receive negative feedback from Lynn Habibi or Atri Bose that comes across as harsh, personal and fault-finding rather than educational, behavioral and focusing on what should be done differently in the future. Lynn Habib is not that much vigilant for internal team problems and does not care to handle conflicts and disagreements in constructive way. It is destructive and a source of tension and undue stress and threatens the performance of the team. As a result, Mascot Branch has poor performance in terms of sales and customer service satisfaction and team members achieve rarely gift vouchers or any other incentives from regional office as performance reward.

CSRs, CSSs, Atri Bose and Lynn Habib arrive to the meeting unprepared and goals are not clear to them. They interrupt and do more talking than listening and some members do their “own thing”. There is lot of arguing and fighting. Some CSSs are stubborn and closed minded to new ideas. Mascot Branch has high absentee rate and team member calls for sick leave very often. Due to de-motivation CSRs, CSSs and Assistant Manager don’t like to stay in the branch for long period and they have tendency to switch to another branch and if it is not possible then they switch to another bank. Besides that since roles and responsibilities are not clear there is always backbiting and buck passing, poor coordination, inadequate support and lack of accountability in the team.

Some dominant CSRs or CSSs tend to over-control and impose their ideas on the group. The team flounders and loses out on the thinking of the less vocal people. As a result, decisions may not be processed in an organized manner; thus the quality diminishes. CSRs and CSSs are not involved in the whole process, so they often do not fully understand the decision; therefore their commitment is low and implementation problems emerge. CSRs and CSSs get easily discouraged and lose interest because their attempts to solve an ill-defined problem are futile. They reject solution after solution until someone proposes one that, in relation to those quickly discarded, seems somewhat reasonable.

Mascot Branch team suffers from communication problems that produce undue stress and tension among CSRs, CSSs, Assistant Manager and Branch Manager which lowers productivity. Some CSSs think that they have everything needed for success – intelligence, education, ambition, perseverance, initiative, analytical skills and technical competency. But they fail to perform to expectations. It is not because of an ability to handle the technical aspects of the job or a willingness to work long and hard. But they think that they are not able to explore themselves completely because of an unorganized and ineffective team. This thought makes them de-motivated not only about Mascot Branch team but also about whole organization.

As mentioned earlier that Lynn Habib doesn’t handle conflicts in a constructive way, this is the reason team members are always tensed and stressed. They suffer from anger, hard feelings and an avoidance tendency in the team. These emotions ultimately damages working relations between team members and distractions that keep team members from doing their jobs. Conclusion: Teamwork is on the rise and it seems reasonable to project that the number and kinds of companies which use teams as a matter of standard operating procedures will continue to escalate. The success and growth of any organization depend on the proper and efficient use of teamwork.

There are many motivational benefits of using team in an organization. A high performance team can distribute the workload, reinforce individual capabilities, make better decisions, create participation and involvement, provide a sense of motivation and establish expectations, generate diversity of ideas, create a sense of ownership and feeling of valued member, increase individual learning and synergy, enhance team member’s morale, quality of work and faster the work process, have low absentee rate, increase loyalty to the organization and high productivity levels. On the contrary, an unorganized and de-motivated team has some motivational disadvantages also, such as, a team can stifle individuality. Too much competition among team members and whole team can suffer when one is to blame.

A tem can restrain team member’s potential and can create confusion among team members. Thus team member became tensed and stressed. Low commitment and less motivation increase high absentee rate and lower loyalty to the organization. Back biting and buck passing create poor coordination, inadequate support and lack of accountability in the team. Some member’s attitude problem and poor communication creates implementation problems that may harm the total output of the team. Thus team members get easily discouraged, lose interest, and suffer from anger, hard feelings and these damage working relations.

References:

1. Wellings, R. S. and George, J. 1991, The Key To Self-Directed Teams. Training & Development Journal, April, pp 26-31.

2. Wellings, R. S., Wilson, J., Katz, J. J., Laughlin, P., Day, C. R. and Price, D. 1990, Self-Directed Teams: A Study of Current Practice. Developmental Dimensions, Inc., Association for Quality and Participation and Industry week.

3. Dumaine, B. 1990, Who Needs A Boss? Fortune, May 7, pp. 52-60.

4. Bingham, D. 1991, Calhoun Workers Reach for Responsibility. Teamwork, Spring 1991, p. 6.

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