As customer support evolves and businesses continue to grow, there’s one thing to keep in mind – the strategy you’re taking to scale your customer support team and customer experience. It’s an age-old concern. How do you scale without sacrificing quality?
It can be difficult to scale experiences in a way that continuously meets customer expectations at the highest level all while doing it at a higher or faster rate than you were previously accustomed.
Change is unpredictable when you’re at a growing company. As much as you want and are happy to be growing, it can be daunting to think about how you can maintain the high standards you currently have in place when you’re having to expand it.
It doesn’t have to be!
When you have the right support in place and are willing to pivot strategies, you can work to offer a great CX along the way no matter the size of your organization.
In this blog we’ll help you form a better understanding of what it means to scale and offer up a few solutions that can help tackle these large-scale issues.
What Does It Mean To Scale A Support Team?
A lot goes into creating a strategy that can help scale successfully, the first challenge is in understanding what it means to scale a business and a support team.
Scalability is all about moving up. It’s growing, expanding, optimizing, refining, reiterating, perfecting processes, increasing workflow, leveraging full bandwidth and doing so in a manner that helps your business go from a small entity to a large one. Scaling is influenced by resources, technology, and how good your team is at adjusting to change and growth. Often, some parts of a business will scale better than others, and that’s okay.
Customer support can be one of the more difficult business areas to scale. It’s one thing for a sales team to increase their closed deals and increase customer count, it’s another for your support team to maintain the current processes they have for current and new customers as that number increases.
Scaling successfully will mean maintaining high standards that meet or exceed customer expectations in a way that tactfully utilizes your teams’ skills and puts their abilities to use in a strategic way.
What Do You Need To Scale A Customer Support Team?
We know that sounds great and all, but how do you get started? What does a support organization need in place in order to scale well?
This can be broken down into three pieces: you need people, goals, and the right tools.
Are your leaders ready to lead the way into better CX and growth within customer support? Without the right mindset, goals can be forgotten and your desire to increase KPI benchmarks could be left to the wayside.
You need to have clear organization and business-wide goals. You should have a clear idea of what the immediate needs for customer support are and for your organization at large and be able to make sense of how your support team fits into it all.
A support team constantly needs to have the right tools at their disposal, whether it’s centralized knowledge or the right tech, with the appropriate tools you’ll be able to empower your team and your business as a whole.
How you combine your people and tools to achieve your goals will enable your strategy to take your team to the next level in how they offer customer service.
When Is It Time to Scale Support?
Scaling support really means growing in a way that maintains a well-balanced customer experience and agent experience. When you scale you’re looking to implement new tools and strategies that are equally as valuable to everyone involved in the support journey.
As important as it is to know and understand how to scale a team that consistently provides a great CX, it’s equally as important to know when it’s time to scale and begin looking into new tools that can boost that for your team.
Implementing new tools and strategies is usually triggered by two things: being in crisis or being in growth.
Ideally, you want to be growing in support demand when you’re thinking of pivoting your CX strategy. Having support fluctuate overnight can also be a crisis trigger. If your team is seeing exponential growth in ticket volume without the ability to support it, you’re all suddenly in crisis while growing. Both good things that require appropriate attention to scale well.
Growing doesn’t just have to occur in support demand for your business to need to grow and scale your support org. Often, scaling support is done because other areas of the business are growing too.
Business growth in any area will eventually trickle down and increase support demand. Whether sales is closing more deals, marketing is bringing in new customers, product is launching new features, or support is increasing channel availability and support hours, demand will flow.
3 Tactics for Scaling Support
Great customer experiences keep customers coming back to your business over and over. In fact, just one bad experience actually sends customers to your competitor.
Here are a few pieces of advice that could help your support team grow in a way that maintains support benchmarks for you and your team.
Help Customers Help Themselves
Did you know that 8/10 people prefer to consult self-service methods before trying to reach someone for support?
If you’re hoping to scale support in a way that benefits the growth of your business, you’ll need to invest in improving your self service methods. The great thing is that you can do this with or without the support of new technology and still improve the process.
You can help customers better help themselves by working on expanding your knowledge base and making it as robust as possible. ??The best knowledge base is a self-serve customer service library that contains any and all information about a product, service, or topic. Customers should be able to retrieve and appropriate data or information for their query without a hiccup. Your knowledge base should also be optimized for use and present all information in a clear, concise manner.
Growing your knowledge base in a way that supports customer self-service means writing better knowledge articles, building on currency articles, collecting all available information for knowledge base articles, and organizing information in a way that helps customers find it.
Improve Agent Enablement
If you want to scale support then you need to care about the people leading the support, your agents. Without a knowledgeable team who is ready to help meet customer needs, you won’t be able to get very far with scaling your support team.
You can support your agents by enabling them to take the charge in improving your processes. The tribal knowledge of a support team who knows the ins and outs of your business, product, or service is invaluable and when you lose agents you also lose pieces of that tribal knowledge.
Further enable your agents with proper training and strategizing to help them achieve specific metrics or help propel the entire team toward better ones. Really taking the time to have one-on-ones with support reps and giving them some power around their roles can keep agents around and improve the agent experience.
Scaling a support team also means empowering your people with the right tools they need to feel enabled to do their jobs the best way possible. This usually means implementing something that can help automate tasks and improve efficiencies which ultimately helps reps meet customer demand without sacrificing the quality of their support.
With the help of tools such as customer support AI, you can help your support teams access information quickly in order to assist customers with more complex queries that can’t be answered easily. AI for customer support can help improve agent lives and create a better CX as you scale.
As your business grows so does your support demand. If your reps are answering the same questions over and over again, and aren’t able to get to the more complicated ones on their own, then there has to be a way to deflect the repetitive questions. And that’s what customer support AI can do.
With the right tools at your disposal your agents can increase deflection rates, decrease time to resolution for tickets, and rid themselves of bottlenecks caused by increased support demand.
By enabling your agents with the appropriate training and tools, you can scale your team as demand goes up.
Stay Mindful of Customer Expectations
Customer expectations change constantly. You’ll find reports about it every single year and it’s important you stay on top of what’s going on in order to successfully serve your own customers.
Did you know that it is 6-7 times more expensive to attract new customers than it is to retain them?
The best way to ensure customer loyalty is to keep delighting your customers and meeting them where they’re at. That could mean trying to expand support channels to reach more customers on their preferred channels or it could mean overhauling your CX in order to help agents and customers. Regardless of what you do, you need to stay on top of changing expectations in order to do it.
These days customers expect these things the most:
- 64% of customers and 80% of business buyers say they expect companies to respond to and interact with them in real-time when they’re searching for responses. If you’re not online and ready to assist the people who need your support, then you’re not meeting expectations. There is always room for improvement in the customer journey but what customers want most is fast answers when they need them.
- No one likes hopping around in support. If you’re having to speak to multiple representatives who each want you to restate your issue, there’s no personalization or even sense of urgency to help you when you have to repeat yourself multiple times. Lucky for support teams, there’s a way to create an omnichannel support approach that passes along the customer’s information from start to finish and makes them feel like you personally care about their issue.
- There is nothing worse than needing an answer and being given the wrong information or not being able to actually find it. With the speed at which companies update their documents, it can be common for knowledge articles or workflows to not be updated and cause issues for customers seeking the info that’s been changed. Customers expect accurate information when they need it. Your org should work to keep knowledge updated.
Scaling Your CX With Forethought
As daunting it is to scale customer support while maintaining a great customer experience, it’s not impossible. With the right tools at your fingertips, you can succeed in meeting customer expectations at a consistently high level all while enabling your agents to do more and do it well.
Forethought can be one of the many tools used to improve your CX offering and improve your agent experience.
Interested in learning more about AI for customer support? Check out our ebook on why it’s important to care about AI for customer support.
Customer support AI is one of the best tools you can deploy for your support team since it not only helps customers with their self-service journey but it also makes it easier for agents to respond to tickets with accurate information.