An effective customer service team is the backbone of any successful company.
When a business is ready to scale, it must ensure that its customer service department can grow in tandem. Customer service managers can implement several strategies to support their team’s expansion while maintaining high standards.
Scaling the support team requires an understanding of the following outcomes:
- How many more customer interactions can the team realistically manage at current capacity?
- If the current capacity is not enough, what resources are needed to achieve these higher demands?
Managers will also need to analyze which types of services will increase. Scaling customer service teams often occurs after opening in a new market, acquiring a significant number of customers, or changes to the business’s products or services.
Focusing on these outcomes enables customer service managers to narrow their focus to the most impactful areas.
Review Daily Workflows
Many customer service processes rely on automated action chains and responses. However, systems that worked for a smaller team may be inadequate as the business grows.
Managers can review their current processes to identify bottlenecks or complications. Authorizing the customer service team to initiate certain actions, such as refunds or customer data changes, can reduce wait times, call times, and increase customer satisfaction.
Relatedly, working with the IT team to create a frequently asked questions list on the company website can reduce call volumes.
Improve Hiring and Staff Retention
While strategic automation can do much of the heavy lifting when customer volume increases, most customer service teams will need to hire additional staff.
Long response times and low customer satisfaction scores can indicate that current staffing levels are too low. Recruiting qualified candidates requires a structured hiring process. Current staff are a great source for referrals.
If the company has an HR team, customer service managers can work closely with staff to create job descriptions that will attract candidates with the right technical and soft skills. Supporting the HR department with resources such an HR helpdesk can ensure that the vetting and hiring processes are timely and streamlined.
Implement a Training Schedule
Incoming and established customer service team members need ongoing training and support. Managers should incorporate group and individual professional development sessions into the workflow.
There are several different types of trainings that customer service teams need to excel in their positions.
Product/service Training – This training area focuses on the company’s products as well as the processes followed by other departments. Customer service agents who understand a company inside and out are better equipped at anticipating customer concerns and providing relevant solutions. This training is especially essential if the business makes any changes to their offerings or customer base.
Technical Training – Customer service teams rely on multiple software to perform their duties. Managers should train all new hires on the current systems. All team members will need refresher trainings to learn software updates. Technical trainings are also a good time to review workflow processes and look for more opportunities for automation.
Communication Training – Working with customers requires strong interpersonal skills. Communication trainings focus on diverse areas, such as conflict resolution, problem solving, and empathy. Agents can go through realistic scenarios and role plays to hone their communication skills.
Diversity Training – Customers prefer buying from businesses that take active steps towards their diversity, inclusion and belonging goals. This includes incorporating inclusive practices in the customer service experience. Training agents on the best practices in diversity and inclusion not only improve customer service, but can also promote inclusion in the workplace.
Track Metrics and Improvements
When scaling customer service teams, the old adage that what is measured is improved rings true. Setting and tracking various customer service key performance indicators can alert managers to areas that require additional resources.
Two common indicators include Net Promoter (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores. The NPS is a self-reported survey of customer experience. Customers generally rate their satisfaction with the product and customer service team, and score the likelihood that they would recommend the business to others.
Strong NPS scores indicate that customers will promote your business. Low scores signal low customer satisfaction, and the chance that customers may actually convince others not to purchase from the business. If the customer service team experiences a drop in NPS after scaling, managers should look into the workflow to assess the source of customer frustration.
The CSAT is a metric that measures experience satisfaction. The score is on a 100 percent scale. Higher scores mean a higher level of customer satisfaction. Most businesses achieve a CSAT of 75 percent. Customer service departments can use this and other industry benchmarks to assess their CSAT scores.
Hey Mike, great article! Another way you can scale your team without actually hiring additional agents is by implementing some sort of virtual agent or automation solution.