Three in four customers (75%) prefer to interact with human customer support staff instead of automation software, according to Oberlo. Accommodating this customer preference requires you to maintain a skilled customer service team plus self-serve software where it makes sense.
But building out a customer service team can be challenging. This difficulty holds true whether you’re preparing to launch a new venture or need to expand existing capabilities. If you have been exploring ways to grow your ability to provide timely service to customers, the five strategies outlined below can help ensure the success of your efforts. When building out your customer service team, we recommend that you:
1. Determine Which Channels to Offer
What is your company’s definition of “good customer service?” Answering this question will lay the foundation for all of your customer support efforts. Work with organizational leadership to set clear standards and incorporate them into your company policies. When establishing this standard, make sure to gather feedback from line-level staff. This process will help them feel heard while allowing you to approach the challenge from various perspectives.
While many consumers want to interact with human support staff, it’s typically based on issue complexity; the easier the issue, the more likely a customer is to prefer self-serve. Different segments of your customer base will have different channel preferences. That’s why any customer service strategy must incorporate more than one channel.
All new staff members should be cross-trained to support multiple channels. Be sure to develop cross-training protocols even if you plan to have employees specialized in a specific channel.
2. Establish Stringent Screening & Training Protocols
When screening prospective support agents, it is important that you look beyond their resumes. Specifically, you should consider screening applicants with skills tests. These screening tools can provide quantifiable data regarding the skills and abilities of each applicant so that you can make informed hiring decisions. By improving your hiring practices, you can reduce the risk of choosing the wrong candidates. Remember that support agents are front-line representatives of your company. A great support agent can bolster your brand image and build feelings of loyalty in the minds of consumers. Conversely, a subpar customer service provider can ruin longstanding consumer relationships and undermine your long-term growth goals.
Implementing sound screening practices will help identify and hire quality customer service candidates. After that you’ll need to onboard new employees to familiarize them with your company’s values, regulations, and software.
A well-designed training and onboarding program is what differentiates the average customer service teams from the great ones. Remember that any company can invest in top-end CRM software, but agents cannot leverage this technology to its true potential unless they are adequately trained.
3. Invest in the Right Tools
Even the most talented customer service teams will struggle to serve your consumers if they are ill-equipped. Therefore, you must provide your agents with quality tools like an excellent customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Additionally, you should ensure that they have comfortable workspaces so that they can focus on providing exceptional service to your customers.
Before settling on a custom relationship management platform, do plenty of research. Ensure that the CRM platform you choose has tools that will improve the efficiency of your support team. There are plenty of options out there when it comes to CRMs, not all of which will be ideal for your organization.
4. Implement Agile Practices
The combination of top-quality CRM solutions, stringent screening practices, and a well-rounded training program will help you create an agile customer service model. Your agents should be able to confidently provide support to your customers across all channels, including phone, chat applications, email, text, or any other medium that your company uses.
An agile customer service team will be able to reduce friction when providing support to your clients. They can efficiently identify the customer’s concern, discuss potential resolutions, and implement the agreed-upon plan to address the pain point.
5. Track Relevant Metrics
How do you know if your customer service team is actually delivering consumer support following your established standards? The answer is that you don’t unless you are tracking several relevant key performance indicators or KPIs. The exact set of KPIs that you should track will vary depending on what type of services you provide. However, most customer support teams should be concerned with metrics like customer effort score (CES), average handle time (AHT), and first contact resolution rate.
If your team consistently resolves customer concerns on the first contact and handles calls efficiently, consumer satisfaction is likely to be relatively high. In any support environment it’s vital that customer support prioritizes fast issue resolution. While there are times when customers will have to make follow-up calls, this should be the exception, not the norm.
A well-trained customer service team will be able to handle most issues during the first interaction without escalating to a supervisor. That is why it is essential to establish clear support standards and convey those regulations via quality training.
Consider Outsourcing to a Skilled Partner
While the previously mentioned tips can help you build out your customer service team, the most pragmatic approach is to partner with an experienced outsourced support provider like Goodbay Technologies.
At Goodbay Technologies, we offer a full suite of customer experience solutions, including omnichannel support, content moderation, VIP support, and much more. Our highly skilled team of support agents can act as an extension of your staff or serve as your entire customer service department.
Contact Goodbay today to learn more about how we can help you build out your customer service capabilities.