Today’s businesses are completely customer driven. Superior customer service is a main factor that helps to elevate an organization beyond its competitors. Customer support teams are also key to retaining customer business in any industry, but within the field of cybersecurity, customer support is critical due to the important data that the products protect.
Due to the sensitive nature of this industry, customers calling into a support line need answers to ensure their privacy is secure. According to Microsoft, 95% of consumers said that customer service is important to their choice of and loyalty to a brand. They also state that 61% of consumers have switched brands due to poor customer service. This just goes to show how important customer service has become in today’s market. An exceptional support team can turn a worried customer into a lifetime supporter just based on their interaction.
Every good company knows that a happy customer base goes a long way for brand reputation, sales and overall business success. Since strong products and services are only as good as the dedicated support team that can quickly address any needs, it is important to have a strong team. Unfortunately, many cybersecurity organizations struggle with understanding what steps and processes to take.
For those leading a support team, getting your team to function at their highest efficiency should be on the forefront of all managers’ minds. In order to achieve the business success desired, you need to understand how to take your support team to the next level. To begin preparing a customer support team for success, management should consider these key tips:
While training a team initially can be expensive, the amount of time, money and headaches that a well-trained support team can save in the end is well worth it. Trainings come in several shapes and sizes. It is important to find what works best for your company and your employees. In addition, as the industry evolves, so must the training, making sure to stay up-to-date on all the latest technology.
Onboarding training are important to make sure new hires are up to speed on how the organization works. First, make sure the new employee understands the interactions of internal processes, how customer care is handled, how cases are documented and what the team expectations are. Once those have taken place then they can be trained on the products and troubleshooting. All of these trainings should be completed before a support employee gets on the phone live with a customer. Aside from typical trainings, offering new hires an internal mentor to support them through this process can be useful.
What will take your team to the next level is understanding that ongoing trainings are essential and should never end with the initial onboarding. Continual trainings incorporated into a team’s weekly or monthly schedule can further educate the employees on important matters or refine already established skills. The team should participate in in-depth training and certification programs for products, industry technology and troubleshooting. To complement these hard-skills, constant customer care training should be provided.
Part of making sure each support team member is adequately trained, is by making sure to have each member hold both internal certifications and industry standard certifications. Internal certifications are used to hold team members to a company’s standards, while external certifications are used to make sure the company is keeping up to date with industry standards. These certifications not only prove to the customers that the support team has valuable experience, but it also helps to keep the employees active and continuing to learn within the field.
3. Support Experienced Team Members
The key to any great team is experience. When it comes to technical support, the more cases an employee has dealt with, the more likely they will be equipped with knowledgeable answers for the next challenge. Hiring people with a few years’ experience is important, but maintaining them is essential. In today’s world, companies are doing all sorts of things to try to maintain their work force. This can range from providing healthy snacks at work, to new exciting office spaces, to happy hours and office outings. While these are great perquisite for the overall company and can be attractive to new talent, it can also be beneficial to determine what your department’s culture is. Having a defined team culture can then assist in hiring the right people who will be a good fit within your organization.
Creating an environment that the team is excited to be a part of, gives the employees a purpose to do the best they can with each call. A positive environment in which they feel they can grow, learn and contribute is more apt to give employees the drive to achieve their goals. They will also be more inclined to grow their careers at the organization and put forth their best work in order to support their team.
4. Collaborative Learning
Implementing an annual rotation plan can offer many different advantages for any member of the team. Depending on company size, switching up teams for one week a year can provide team members with better knowledge of the products, an understanding of how different teams operate, and an opportunity for personal development at a higher level. For a large global company, consider sending members of your team to a different office to learn different management styles, products and ways to handle situations that may not typically come up in their home office. When returning to a normal schedule, the employees returning to the team will have new knowledge that can better prepare the whole team for customer concerns.
It is also important for support staff members to listen to customer calls that have been completed, and learn from the way other members of the team handle similar situations. This can provide useful information on what an individual needs to work on, and it allows the team to pick up the good habits of others. Group critiques done every two weeks — more if someone receives a poor review on a call — will provide useful information that will help the whole team grow as a unit.
5. Set High Standards
It can be a challenge for team managers to maintain consistently high team standards. Therefore, it is important to set expectations that are achievable, consistent and regularly monitored. Part of maintaining consistency is connecting with the team on job performance. While an annual performance review is standard at most companies, it should not be the only check in with employees. To avoid mistakes becoming habits in the course of a year, or other team members acquiring similar behaviors, managers should be looking to meet with each employee on a regular (weekly, monthly) basis to reinforce standards and expectations.
Other ways to improve team standards is by making sure the team’s CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) score remains consistent, with slow growth over time. If a team is not tracking this, start doing so, and after a few weeks see what the average score is and start taking steps to improve upon the current system.
Your job as a manager is to make sure your team is efficient, successful and happy in their roles in order to make sure the customers can attain comprehensive support. The reputation of the brand is in your hands and by implementing these tips, you can stay ahead of the curve and continue to find new ways to better take care of your customers. After all, they need your support.