Building Customer Service Teams: Tips to Hire & Manage
The first step towards building a robust customer service engine is a clear vision for your team and operations. Unfortunately, most business owners and customer service managers are blindsided by vanity metrics like response time. They keep chasing numbers, often forgetting what’s truly important in the long run- the customer experience.
Putting the customer in the forefront allows you to define your goals and subsequently shape your support team to fit the mold.
To build a customer-centric support service, you must facilitate and reward higher customer satisfaction instead of a quick resolution. Your aim isn’t to create a defensive function to build a foundation for increased brand advocacy. Revenue is bound to follow.
Read Also: Ultimate Guide on Ecommerce Customer Service
Tips to Hire and Structure Customer Support Team
According to Thomas McCay (director, of customer success at SNOW), rightly puts it- “the customer, the optimal way to define customer service operations and goals is to break them down into three functions-
- Transactional: this includes support functions like order updates, return requests, order cancellations, etc. They have an immediate impact on the customer experience during purchase.
- Customer Retention: the support functions aim to build customer relations such as customer reviews, customer experience ratings, etc.
- Revenue Augmentation: the customer service functions that impact the bottom-line revenue such as self-service and cart abandonment.
When building a customer service team, every customer service manager should optimize their strategy to meet goals for all three areas of customer service.
How to Build and Manage a Robust Customer Service Team
The quality of customer service relies primarily on three factors- your team, processes, and tools. Building and maintaining customer service teams can be a challenging task, but there’s a way to create more favorable outcomes with a better customer service organizational structure:
In a Webinar with Richpanel, Thomas also shared his secret to hiring the right customer service representatives. He believes that good customer service performance is a combination of the right skill set, motivation, morale, and resources.
When hiring, look beyond just their resume. Look for a customer service team that understands your vision and is motivated by the same goals you aim to achieve.
Your customer service team is representative of your brand. Train them to understand the brand, its policies, and its goals. One of the best ways to ensure great performance is by allowing your employees to identify tasks that best align with their interests. Train them to work on those areas. The freedom provides an added sense of ownership and increases performance. You can cross-train them to meet.
Team functions can be divided between two goals- generating revenue and providing support. Your customer service structure should help optimize your functions to meet standards in both areas: you should be able to resolve all your customer inquiries. But not at the cost of $15 per conversation. Create the right balance between automation and human interaction to provide a seamless experience.
The other challenges business owners face when setting up their processes are. Ecommerce, as we all know, is a volatile industry and demand keeps fluctuating around the year. Many businesses rely on outsourcing to keep up with the fluctuations in customer support tickets. This is especially true for the holiday season when eCommerce sees an increased demand. While this is one of the most popular and viable solutions, businesses that are not able to find the right partners often end up compromising on their customer service. This is worrying because, with the increased visibility due to the seasonal demand, businesses have the opportunity to create a lasting impression on their new customers. Your customer service team (inhouse or outsourced) is central to the goal of customer retention.
A business owner or customer success manager should take time to evaluate their partners and find an agency that can maintain the quality of their customer experience. This is pivotal in the success of your customer service team.
There are an overwhelming number of support tools out there. It is important to find a support tool that aligns with your beliefs. Your service tool should exist to make the lives of your customer support team easier. And it should facilitate the to treat customers as humans and not as tickets. Your customer service tools and their capabilities are the foundation upon which your customer service organizational structure is built. Find the right tool that helps you implement your ideas effectively and help the customer service team perform efficiently.
Tips to Maintain Customer Service Team:
Customer service is one of the most rewarding functions for business, but it can be equally taxing for customer service teams. Customer support teams are infamous for high iteration rates. The best way to ensure quality is to make agent happiness one of your goals as a CX leader. Define a good culture for your customer service department which empowers the support agents to be more fulfilled.
Empower them to have a positive impact on the business and revenue. Measure their success in terms of revenue impact and customer satisfaction. Creating the quickest path to this goal is the right tech stack.
Your customer support functions are an amalgam of automation and human connection. Aim to find the right balance between speed and effectiveness.
Great customer service is adapting to the changing needs of the customer. Your approach to customer service should be fine-tuned to the need of the hour. Training your support agents to understand the company values and process is not enough. You need to conduct regular refreshers and training sessions to keep up the quality of customer service. Another factor that leads to a high-performance customer service team, is coaching agents based on individual metrics. If you notice a customer team member has a higher response time than average, point out ways in which they could manage their tickets more effectively. This will help fix the weak links in the chain, and provide great customer service.
Customer service is about the customer and the agent experience as well. Multichannel presence is an expectation in today’s day and age. But it poses many operational challenges. For a seamless experience on both sides, your company should have omnichannel support tools. It saves time and increases effectiveness and helps creates a brand, not a store. customer services should align with that vision. Multichannel is an expectation. Omnichannel helps meet customer expectations without compromising on the quality of customer service on any channel. Learn more about Omnichannel Customer Service
Even if the representative you hire are skilled and understand the nuances of customer support, every business has a different outlook on its customer support processes. Some businesses may prioritize revenue over quick resolution, while others may focus on customer experience over immediate profits as well. Your agent should receive regular feedback so they can align their efforts with your vision and provide better customer service in the process.
Self-service empowers customers to take action and it helps eliminate redundancy from customer support tickets. The best part about this is that it frees up the agents’ time and allows them to address more complex concerns. It significantly improves the quality of customer service where customers receive quick and prompt responses for simple tickets like cancellations, and agents can take sufficient time to provide product information, upsell or cross-sell products.
Choosing the right self-service flows makes a huge difference, however. The ideal flow is that the support tool facilitates better conversations and allows them to do the heavy lifting while acting as a fulcrum of support.
Richpanel has successfully reduced service tickets by 50% for its clients, by providing a robust knowledge base and self-service flows that allow customers to find solutions for themselves.
The biggest mistake CS leaders make is to measure their success through age-old methods and metrics. Most are still caught up with resolution time, and response time that they’re missing the whole picture. These metrics are indicators of good performance only when teamed with insights like revenue generated from the conversation. Imagine a customer with high CLV wants to understand the difference between two of your high-end products, only to feel the conversation being rushed to a close.
Customer service is a revenue channel and should be treated as one. Measure the value addition to make more informed decisions. Time-bound metrics are not accurate/ or effective.
Richpanel is support software that gives better insights and understanding of your CS operations. It tracks revenue generated, customer satisfaction scores, and response time for a well-rounded approach to customer service.
Macros and Canned:
Macros and Canned responses are important automation tools that make the agents’ jobs easier. They help save time by taking care of redundant queries. It helps make room for meaningful conversations, resulting in increased productivity.
Mobile Apps for Support:
Your support solution should have a mobile app for remote access. With increased outsourcing and remote working environments, a CS leader can struggle to stay on top of things. By using a solution with a mobile app you have access to your work anytime, anywhere and help your team provide excellent customer service.
Building a customer service team is a challenge but with the right vision, a customer service leader can easily chalk out a strategy that helps them focus on what is important. They can create the right environment and a team that not only performs support functions but increase customer loyalty and customer delight. Start your Richpanel free trial or book live demo today to start delivering effortless customer service and reduce your customer support workload