7 Tips for Building an Agile Customer Support Team

By Ruth Favela

Believe it or not, your customer support team and contact center are the lifeblood of your business. Contact centers are often seen as cost-sucking business sectors. But when built correctly and put together in a way that can help you scale, your customer support teams can truly change the way you do business with your customers. 

Growth is essential for any business—and chances are, if you’re not growing then your competitor definitely is. Growth in any area of your business is key to your long-term survival and success.

And when you have customers you need to serve day in and day out, growth within your customer support team is vital. 

It can be daunting to know how best to grow your teams and what you should be doing in order to not only serve your employees now but ensure their ability to be empowered in the future as well.

One thing we find most customer support teams could benefit most from is building an agile team that can pivot strategically when the time is right. If you’re interested in growing an agile CS team for your business, check out some of our tips below. 

You’ll find there’s a lot that goes into building the best team possible, including info on the best tools for success.

#1 Define What “Agile” Means For Your Team 

What does “agility” mean for you and your business? 

Agile means “able to move quickly and easily.” But things can also get confusing when we think of the “agile method” for businesses where development is characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work with frequent reassessment. If you’re not familiar with the agile method, that’s fine! At the end of the day, how you define agility will be up to you and how you want your teams to work. 

Defining “agile” will allow you to prioritize what you want to see in your teams. If you’re looking to simply be able to move quickly and easily no matter what is thrown at you and your support agents, then that’s where you start. If you’re looking into implementing an agile methodology, you’ll want to do some research into implementing agile into your organization. 

Once you’ve decided where to go, you can begin building your team with new values in mind. 

#2 Align Cross-Departmental Goals

One of the biggest areas of struggle we see across support teams is a lack of cross-departmental alignment. In order to build a better team that can provide impact for your business, you need to align your customer support teams’ goals and mission with the rest of your business.

When you think about your customer’s journey with your business, they interact with every department along the way. It would make sense to ensure that the goals customer support has are aligned with marketing, sales, and customer success. This way you can implement tools and strategies that will not only benefit your teams and your own separate goals but will also support the rest of your business. In the end your goal should be to delight your customers and create loyalty to your business. 

#3 Develop a “Customer-First” Culture

The customer is king. They’re the lifeblood of any business and you want to enable everyone to provide them with the best experience possible at every step of their journey and at every touchpoint they have with your teams. 

These days, what matters most to your customers is your ability to meet their expectations and serve their needs. This is tied into their desire for a high quality customer experience that quickly and accurately gets them what they need. In short, customers want fast answers with the most accurate information possible. 

If you are able to develop a mindset of putting your customers first then your teams will be dedicated to creating the best experiences possible for them. With a culture and mindset for putting customers at the center of everything, you’ll be able to focus on their needs and change strategy as those need change or develop. 

#4 Enable Self-Serve and Digital-First Solutions 

Nothing irks customers more than being unable to solve their problems or meet their needs on their own the first time they go looking for solutions. In fact, 42% of customers prefer to be able to find solutions to their queries or issues on their own.

And did you know that in the next two years 85% of all customer service interactions will begin with self-service? You should be part of that! 

Self-service solutions would allow you to provide online support to your customers without requiring any interaction from a human at the point of contact. In order to provide self-service solutions to your customers and increase customer satisfaction you need to ensure that you have the most up-to-date and robust knowledge base and FAQs along with automatic responses for common emails that can get customers what they need. 

When you’re able to meet your customers’ needs through self-serve and digital-first solutions that don’t require interaction with a human, you save time and money as well as are capable of shifting goals or strategies when needed. 

#5 Get Customer Feedback

The best way to know if you’re serving customers as best you can and meeting their needs and expectations is by monitoring customer feedback. You’re already likely measuring important KPIs such as First Contact Resolution, CSAT, Net Promoter Score and others. 

These metrics tell you how your customers are feeling about the service they’re receiving and can help fill in any gaps for where you need to improve. Customer feedback includes insights, opinions, reactions, preferences, and complaints about a company’s products or services which gives you information on the sentiment behind your customers. 

When you’re actively asking for feedback you understand your customers a lot better and can move with agility to find solutions for places you can improve, 

#6 Adapt Omnichannel Support

Omnichannel support lets consumers interact with your support agents on the communication channel they prefer and, in many cases, without having to speak to an agent or have to be switched from one person to another in order to get their needs met. 

Omnichannel is all about integrating and unifying communication, making it so conversations stay consistent and information is not missed. So if someone engages with your chatbot but needs to talk with a live agent, the conversation should pick up where they left off with the bot. Or if someone speaks to one rep but needs to be passed to another department’s rep then the new agent should have the information from the previous rep. 

By adapting omnichannel support that carries customers through smooth processes, you can ensure easy transitions whenever new data is presented that makes it so you have to reevaluate goals. 

#7 Provide Teams the Right Tools

The most important thing you can do to create and build an agile customer support team is to provide your team with the tools they need to succeed and feel empowered in their roles. 

An agent’s job isn’t easy — they handle customer inquiries day in and day out, often have to label incoming tickets manually causing them to do one task over and over, and when they have issues that create bottlenecks for them they don’t have a solution for. 

The best tools for customer support teams looking to become more agile in their ability to serve customers are powered by artificial intelligence. 

AI for customer support can help agents deliver faster answers with the most accurate information possible. Customer support AI can improve the way your agents handle incoming queries by deflecting commonly asked questions with automatic responses, assist agents in pulling up relevant information and help them autocomplete resolutions. 

By providing your teams with the right tools you’ll ensure better processes and higher customer satisfaction. Plus, with the help of customer support AI you can work with agility to meet new customer needs and expectations as they arise or change. 

More AI In Support Teams

If you’re interested in learning more about the power of AI in helping to build agile customer service teams, check out our webinar where Forethought’s Deon Nicholas met with leaders from ArenaCX and Zendesk to discuss what teams need for 2022 and beyond. 

Or if you have questions, let’s chat.

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