One of the most difficult aspects of expanding a business is maintaining consistency in customer service. Scaling customer service teams is a difficult task. You need to bring enough people on board without hiring the wrong individuals or going bankrupt. You also want to increase the capacity of your team without losing the personal touch that your consumers appreciate.
Continue reading this RisePath article to see how you can improve support procedures by providing the necessary tools and resources to both customers and agents.
What does scaling customer support imply?
In general, scaling customer support entails predicting and preventing roadblocks for your clients. To avoid possible problems, teams must proactively build up or optimise processes.
However, expanding assistance varies with each company because it necessitates recognising specific gaps in your customer service and then making the appropriate modifications. Some businesses may need to upgrade from improvised solutions to customer relationship management software (like RisePath CRM). Others may require the hiring of their first dedicated customer service representative or the addition of new support channels.
You’ll have to assess your customer service and figure out how to scale for success. Then you must devise a strategy for implementing and evaluating your strategy.
What are the advantages of expanding customer service?
Consumers want quick resolutions, round-the-clock customer service, and proactive assistance from brands, all of which are difficult to deliver as your customer base grows. If you don’t meet these expectations, you risk losing customers and stunting company growth.
Client service scaling allows you to provide excellent service even as your customer base and ticket traffic grow. Use improved technologies, refine processes, and train and mentor agents to improve your support capabilities. Your support team will have more customer visibility and much-needed resources at their fingertips as a result of these changes, allowing them to continuously provide excellent service.
What is the best way to scale customer service?
Your consumers’ needs, your product or service, and your industry all influence how you create scalable customer service. A software company, for example, may require more customer service representatives, whereas a midsized eCommerce store may require a knowledge base to address frequently asked problems. Based on your specific circumstances, here are some practical ways for scaling your customer support team.
1. Use the correct customer service software to automate duties.
Select customer service software that automates time-consuming operations such as data entry, typing responses, and bug reporting.
You don’t have to create a massive tech stack right now. Begin with simple tools that can help your customer service personnel overcome obstacles. Chatbots enabled by AI can offer tailored assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As customers progress through the queue, a ticketing system can classify, prioritise, and track their queries. A customer relationship management (CRM) platform can collect and track crucial customer data.
Look for software that has the following features:
- Everything agents require is contained in a single workspace.
- Customer context is revealed, resulting in faster resolutions and happy customers.
- Team members are able to collaborate more easily.
- Data and insights are captured which helps you plan your customer service strategy.
Make sure the software you choose can scale with your company so that you don’t have to replace it every few months. It should be adaptable, able to do several tasks and integrate with the rest of your tech stack.
2. Create a knowledge repository
Customers may obtain answers quicker and agents can fix issues faster with self-service resources like a knowledge base. Use knowledge base information to respond to frequently asked questions, educate customers about your product, and demonstrate how to execute difficult tasks.
However, not all firms require a knowledge base. If the same kind of support questions keep pouring in, a FAQ page on your website can be enough.
To start building a knowledge base, construct a system for detecting issues that need to be documented. Examine support tickets with a tool that may identify and collect trends. Assign material for your knowledge base to support agents and subject matter experts (such as engineers and developers); you may even engage technical writers. To maintain quality and uniformity among knowledge base articles, create a style guide.
Customers and agents can use the knowledge base to quickly obtain the information they require.
3. Increase the number of support employees.
Hire more customer service representatives to manage rising demand and keep up with incoming tickets.
How do you tell when you need to hire more agents? Determine whether particular help desk indicators, such as response time, handle time, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and customer satisfaction (CSAT) score, are fulfilling your goals. If your staff isn’t meeting those objectives owing to the increased workload, you’ll need to hire more workers.
To attract the ideal individuals, write a job description that specifies the tasks, experience level, and abilities required for the position. Encourage your current customer service team members to send in referrals so you may tap into their talent pool.
Finally, create a system for training and coaching new employees to ensure their success.
4. Contract out customer service
You might want to consider outsourcing some portions of your support operations to a third-party provider in addition to recruiting more agents. Outsourcing has a reputation for decreasing costs without sacrificing quality, but this isn’t always the case. Outsourcing can assist your team if done correctly. This is why:
- It’s adaptable. You can staff up during peak times, provide localised help, or give support outside of usual business hours.
- It saves money and time by eliminating the need to train in-house staff because there is usually a huge pool of talented, experienced agents available.
- It enables flexibility. You can swiftly scale your firm and focus on other areas that require your attention by outsourcing.
Look for respected customer service BPOs [Business Process Outsourcers] that have the expertise to hire top personnel, give good training, and expand your staff as your company grows. Assign a specialised internal team to oversee BPO expectations, training, onboarding, and the tools and processes that are employed.
Another suggestion for finding the perfect partner is to look at how the firm handles its employees and see whether it matches your own internal policies.
Ensure that the BPO is viewed as a partner, not an afterthought, by senior management and the internal team. Using a customer support platform to keep external and internal team members connected is one method to encourage teamwork.
5. Encourage your support staff.
Just because you recruit excellent customer service representatives does not mean they can handle everything on their own. By giving your staff the right tools, methods, and coaching, you can help them perform more efficiently and successfully.
To teach agents the skills they need to thrive in their professions, use strong training programmes and workshops. Then, based on agent feedback, expand or refine those sessions.
Key customer service indicators can also be used to identify gaps and opportunities for development.
6. Increase the number of support channels
Meet clients where they are by offering support through their preferred channels, such as live chat, email, or social media.
Send surveys to your clients asking which channels they prefer to contact you on, and then figure out which channels the majority of them prefer. Examine industry trends to determine which social media channels your target audience uses. If your consumers are predominantly millennials, for example, you might wish to provide support on Twitter or Instagram.
However, before you introduce a new channel, think about whether you can staff it appropriately while keeping the same level of service and fulfilling consumer expectations. Email requests, for example, do not demand a prompt response, whereas live chat necessitates real-time conversations with customers.
Using an omnichannel customer service platform helps reduce agent workload. Agents will be able to see all tickets and customer data from all channels from a single dashboard, eliminating the need to switch between apps.
7. Use ticket swarming to collaborate internally.
Swarming is a collaborative support system in which multiple team members work on a ticket at the same time to resolve it. The first person to work on a client issue (case or incident) engages the best resources needed to handle the issue and manages it through resolution.
Let’s say a frontline employee is addressing a ticket and discovers the problem is a product bug. They can ask an engineer for assistance without having to escalate the ticket to the engineering team. Instead, the engineer can tackle the problem directly with the agent.
Because one agent supervises a ticket from start to finish rather than forcing it through a ticket escalation process, the swarming methodology is ideal for growing support teams. This allows them to ensure that all concerns are resolved completely. Customers are less likely to return with the same issues, allowing your agents to focus on new issues.
Swarming also removes the need to transfer a customer multiple times, which improves the customer service experience.
8. Create a customer service administrator position.
Consider hiring a full-time administrator to handle your day-to-day support operations, do system maintenance, and highlight potential concerns as your team grows. These administrators should be granted additional permissions to administer and personalise your CRM.
Businesses should engage a full-time administrator if they:
- Have a support team of ten or more agents.
- Plan to create and test new workflows that will necessitate supervision and upkeep.
Look for applicants who have the following qualifications when hiring a customer service administrator:
- Management experience using customer success tools
- The ability to deconstruct complicated ideas and information
- An interest in data analysis, automation, and process improvement
- Excellent teamwork abilities
- Outstanding technical documentation abilities
- System implementation and improvement experience
- Excellent communication abilities
Remember that even before you create an official role, administrative duties like granting access and altering account settings will most likely fall to someone. Consider this while allocating personnel and resources.
9. Organize a community forum.
Create an online community for customers to ask questions, share information, and debate issues of mutual interest. Community forums relieve the burden on your customer care team by allowing users to share their knowledge and learn from one another. As a result, fewer tickets will be added to the queue.
Create communities for different locations, businesses, or goods with the community forum software. Appoint trusted members as moderators to keep forums secure. You may also escalate questions to the relevant support agent if they aren’t answered in the forum.
Prepare yourself to accept change.
As your business expands, you’ll need to make adjustments to ensure that your clients receive outstanding service. You and your agents may need to learn how to use customer service tools, establish a disciplined hiring procedure, or experiment with new cooperation styles—all while maintaining a high level of quality.
The only way to give excellent customer service is to be adaptable and open to new ideas.