We’ve talked about why it’s important to scale your customer support when your business is growing. But how exactly does a company go about implementing changes that will help their customer support accommodate increasingly larger volumes of customer requests?
The easiest solution is of course, to increase the number of support agents – and this might not be a bad idea. But this will lead to a never ending spiral of hiring more support staff when your current team is overwhelmed. In fact, scaling your support doesn’t always mean a literal increase in team size. Rather, what you should aim for is increased efficiency and productivity—the ability to achieve more with less.
Help your customers help themselves
There’s quite a bit of debate over the usefulness of customer self-service platforms, but statistics have shown that 70% of consumers expect businesses to have a self-service application and 40% would prefer these over human contact. While self-service avenues won’t be replacing human interaction in customer service any time soon, it is still an efficient way to resolve customer issues.
Self-service reduces the cost of providing support by enabling customers to help themselves. Things like knowledge bases, FAQs and forums are platforms on which common questions and answers can be documented so customers can solve their own problems with a quick search. However, before you can build a substantial database that actually helps, you will need to conduct some research on the common problems your customers encounter while using your product or service. It may sound like a lot of work, time and resources, but self-service platforms eventually pay off when customers don’t have to initiate a conversation every time they need a problem solved.
Help your customer service team by equipping them with the tools that makes their jobs easier. If you’re using a chat based system, things like shortcuts and visitor path tracking can help reduce the time taken to respond to customer issues.
Even if you’re providing more traditional forms of support such as email and telephone, there are also ways to organize each ticket. Automated phone systems for example, make use of digital operators to filter customer inquiries by department or category, which greatly reduces the number of transfers required after a customer speaks to an actual support agent.
Customer support teams in a growing business often face a sharp increase in customer enquiries, which is why filters that aim to predict the type of question and route them to a specific department help reduce the time taken to resolve customer issues.
Analytics has proven its importance in the world of customer service, but it truly shines when implemented in larger support teams. When used properly, metrics can work wonders, like shed light on satisfaction ratings and let you know if your support team is handling customer requests well.
Having an analytics tool that lets you monitor response times, hold times and abandon rates, can help you target areas of improvement and set new goals to improve the quality of your support. The ability to spot trends and keep a log on customer behaviours can also benefit your overall customer service strategy. For instance, knowing the most frequently asked questions by your customers can benefit your knowledge base, by providing self-help solutions to popular questions.
Metrics can also show how your customer support directly affects the amount of revenue generated by your business (i.e. your “return on investment). Sometimes, the difference between an abandoned shopping cart and a successful deal lies in the quality of customer support. Monitoring your team will allow you to work on areas that require improvement and prevent future problems.
Traditionaly, the customer picks up their phone and dials a hotline when they’re trying to contact a business. The modern day user however, prefers to connect with a business via a platform they’re comfortable using—which is why social media, live chat and self-service platforms are rising in popularity.
What growing businesses have to realize is that it is no longer enough to provide support. The changing market requires a company to be available to their consumers across a variety of channels. In other words, be where your audience is. If you’re not there to engage with customers on their preferred channels, not only do you miss out on potential sales, you also run the risk of disappointing them.
Opening up multiple channels for support can also help ease the pressure on one-to-one contact points (where each customer is served by one agent) by deflecting contacts coming through to other channels like live chat or a knowledge base. This helps your business manage an increasing chat volume during growth.
Spice things up
When Airbnb was trying to scale their customer support in the short time span of 1 month, they put in place some interesting policies to get their new hires to cooperate. When it was difficult to get employees to volunteer for late-night shifts, not only did they pay more for the odd hours worked, they also implemented something called Airkarma. Employees who worked odd shifts received Airkarma points, which allowed them more control over their schedules in future.
It doesn’t hurt to throw in some unique processes to help your customer support team get acquainted with the idea of scaling support. Sometimes, support agents are more receptive to creative approaches and thus become more cooperative towards scaling strategies.
Don’t leave your customer service behind when growing your business. Place your customers at the highest priority and always provide your support team with the necessary tools to help them keep up with business growth. With the right strategies and goals, providing great support at scale is an achievable dream.
Learn more about scaling customer support