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Why scaling up customer support is important and what it means to your organization
As your organization grows, it’s equally important to scale up your customer support team. And it’s not easy to scale a support team unless you have a set process and the necessary tools to help them across different stages. While you need the right tools, you need to answer the basic question - what does ramping up the customer support team mean to you?
Scaling up customer support can mean different things to different organizations. As you are looking to scale up your customer support as a function, do you want to ramp up certain aspects of your support or hire more support agents to your team or is it investing in technology? Let’s look at what each of these options have to offer.
Hiring more support agents - As your company grows, you need more members on your team. And that brings several advantages to the table such as ability to allocate customers to support agents based on region, industry, timezone, etc. Also, existing team members can help train the new agents get up to speed on the support guidelines and best practices. All that said, scaling up your team in terms of people also comes at a cost.
Investing in technology - Investing in the right technology is as important as having the right people on your support team. Investing in tools needn’t necessarily incur a huge cost. It can include using a helpdesk solution, a live chat tool or even automation using bots. Though the cost incurred may not be high, this approach needs you to bet on the right tools and have a fair amount of cross-functional collaboration.
As you decide to grow your team, you need to need to understand that it’s not just about training the new team but also knowing the exact gaps that needs to be filled. When your team was small, you would have trained your team with minimal resources and still they would have delivered the best service to your customers. But, as you grow, you need to make sure you are covering all bases. You need identify and list down the gaps that need to be addressed, so that you can plan on the resources you need to bring in, what to outsource if needed, and so on.
Onboarding is one of the most difficult aspects to deal with, when you are planning to scale up. Poor onboarding can result in high support agent turnover rates. You need to structure your onboarding in a meaningful way that not only trains the new agents on the product and sets expectations, but they also need to make sure that the onboarding playbooks are accessible, and the new agents are also trained on the organization’s cultural aspect, support workflow practiced in the organization policies and more. Onboarding needs to be a continuous training exercise with regular checkpoints to measure progress.
As your organization grows, you also need to start prioritizing conversations based on it’s importance. You need to set up criteria for prioritizing conversations, which can be based on revenue, sensitivity of the issue, the ones that haven’t received a first response yet and so on. Smart teams tend to setup a priority inbox for such situations, thus enabling their team to prioritize their responses.
If we are discussing scalability, then automation is an automatic choice. Automation augments your customer support team in a great way. For example, you can start using live chat tools that include chatbot components to resolve your customers’ most common questions, while your support agents can focus on the questions needing a human touch. Such automations can free up a lot of time for your support agents and improve the overall customer response time by 40-50%. Also once you start monitoring the automated conversations for the ones receiving the intended responses and the ones that aren’t, you can continuously improve the augmentation.
As you scale, you also need to empower your customers to resolve issues on their own. This also adds to save your support agent’s time. Setting up your self-service includes building the necessary resources such as FAQs, knowledge bases or help centers which customers can access to find resolutions to their problems. Make your self-service easily accessible to customers so that they don’t have to search for it. This is not only a scale up option, but an approach that can save countless hours for both your company and your customers.
Next topic - Segmenting and differentiating customers based on levels and expectations
Are you a customer support ninja?
Your customer support representatives are the face of your organization. The experience of your customer with your product or organization is directly dependent on the kind of service they receive from your customer support representatives.
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