How To Scale Your Customer Support

April 3, 2014

Earlier this month, LiveChat interviewed (mt) Media Temple Support Manager Eric Shure. We’ve spent years building and scaling our support processes, and stay focused on the challenge of delivering timely, thorough support as we continue to grow.

From hiring and training in-house to choosing the right support channels, the core take-aways from this interview are a solid foundation for any business looking to enhance or build their support department. We posted the 8 quick takeaways here, but you can read the full interview for more context. Disclaimer: LiveChat provides (mt) Media Temple with chat support software.

1. Hiring will pay off in the long run.

Although outsourcing support will produce results faster, those results will never be perfect. Only dedicated and well-trained agents who know your company inside out will provide the highest quality of customer service. You can train a script, but you can’t train company culture into an outsourced team.

2. Provide training for new agents.

New additions to your team need a chance to learn about customer service and your company. Don’t expect them to know everything on day 1. Offer help and guidance when needed. Include members from different teams in your training to further help the new trainees understand the work happening behind the front lines. This will also help your trainees get a better feel for the people in your organization and more importantly, the culture of the company.

3. Pick scalable channels first.

You don’t have to service all customer service channels immediately. What you can do is to pick those that will be the easiest to scale and optimize to larger amount of contacts. Chat, email and help desk are a good place to start.

4. Don’t assign agents to one channel only.

Agents will quickly burn out if they are assigned only to chat or only to email. Keep things interesting by giving your agents the opportunity to shine on different customer service fields.

5. Measure your effectiveness.

Make sure to keep an eye on metrics related to the quality of your support. Response time, average handling time and, above else, customer satisfaction levels will tell you which parts of your support need tweaking.

6. Set soft targets.

Setting targets for your agents to reach, like a certain number of chats or a particular response time, is a good idea. However, but you shouldn’t try to meet them at all costs. Some conversations can’t be rushed through and will take longer to finish. Look at those stats on a monthly basis for a clearer picture.

7. Assign tasks according to skill.

Remember that new agents won’t be able to perform on the same level as veterans with a few years of experience.

8. Reward teams instead of individuals.

When it comes to rewarding your team’s efforts, don’t try to single out several aces. Customer service is a team effort so the awards should be given to teams, not individuals.

 

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