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How to Painlessly Scale your Customer Support

Nate Vickery, Msc | Apr 19, 2017 67 views 1 Comment

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Just as delivering a great and valuable product or service, it is equally important to provide quality customer service as your business continues to grow. Businesses that need to scale their support up are lucky because distributed support teams are the most flexible option. With a growing number of customers, requests for guidance and help will increase as well, so you should have your customer support team prepared for growth.

There are lots of ups and downs when it comes to handling growth, and here are a few tips you may find valuable for managing a growing business over the years.

Structure your support into different channels

Divide your customer support into different communication channels by structuring your support team, first by function (chat, phone, or ticket), or social (according to your team’s skill level and your business needs). Next, assign a secondary channel to each rep, so if one line of communication is slow, a rep can address the ticket queue and move to email in order to destress and unwind.

Establishing an operations team

In a growing business, an operations team needs to be established and made responsible for the communication infrastructure (which enables the support team to work) – project management, documentation, training, metrics report, and ticketing systems. If your business is still small, but you need to afford good operations team, find ways to save some money. For example, opt for a shared web hosting solution if you have multiple sites or try to automate as many processes as possible.

Rep-to-leadership ratio

In order to give the best possible support, it is critical to building an internal leadership structure and your business expands. A ratio of 1 team leader per 8-10 reps is effective and efficient. The team leader is responsible for motivating the team member, answering their concerns and questions, and addressing escalations.

Focus on chat

Consider making chat your communication channel of choice if your company caters to tech-savvy customers. Chat has been found to have the lowest associated cost, better first contact resolution, and highest customer satisfaction.

Always experiment

As your business grows, the need to focus on certain types of issues will change, so you’ll have to restructure your team. What this allows for each rep is to become a specialist for a particular category of problems – general concerns, suspensions, payments, or disputes – which will eventually lead to greater customer satisfaction. Never stop searching for new ways for improving your customer support, check in on your processes continually, and make sure they’re keeping pace with the ever-evolving support demands.

Don’t forget social media

An important asset of every business has become social media presence, and it will grow along with your business. Thus, you should know how to address the online complaints and conversations. Social media is both highly visible and reactive, so you should have at least one social support rep with impeccable communication skills. Social reps must be mature and articulate enough to make the best possible judgments in their responses on social media. Also, he should never disclose any private information via social media as it’s a very privacy sensitive channel.

Find a social media monitoring tool that suits your needs and that allows your social media reps to stream and assign social messages to the right support services.

Define what types of posts should be escalated and which should be funneled to a standard support ticket. Consider creating content libraries in order to help address problems consistently and quickly, such as: an internal knowledge base for troubleshooting social media problems, a library of responses to most frequently asked questions (which should be customized for an appropriate response), and pre-written responses for anticipated customer questions in advance of any policy change or product launch.

Recognize opportunities

This is what every great social support rep should know. Take for example what happened to Lululemon Athletica, when they accidentally sent a bag of running caps to a customer, instead of just one. The customer contacted the publicly, with a tweet, notifying them about their mistake. Instead of wanting the merchandise back, Lululemon tweeted him back to keep the caps and share them with his friends.

They’ve made a mistake initially, but turned it into a great marketing move, gaining a satisfied customer who will definitely share what happened to him and unconsciously help them build their brand. That’s how you win at social media and your social media reps should know how to recognize these kinds of opportunities.

Scale your customer support service team to deliver great personal support at any stage by putting the right processes and tools in place. When a business starts growing rapidly, there are always certain growing pains. Recognize them as challenges that should be tackled. It’s just how things work. On the other hand, you customers don’t have to experience that. Make their experience with your business the best possible, and they’ll keep coming back.

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One Response to How to Painlessly Scale your Customer Support

  1. Thomas Wieberneit April 20, 2017 at 7:26 pm (226 comments) #

    Hi Nate, all good points, but I seem to miss on
    – automation that takes away chores from the agents
    – faqs that deflect many questions before they need to get handled by a person
    – self service – many problems do not need intervention of a person
    – communities

    Why didn’t you add these?

    Cheers
    Thomas
    @twieberneit

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