For many retail and e-commerce companies, success does not happen overnight — it’s a journey. As your company expands, how can you ensure that you'll continue to stand out to your customers?
The answer: Building a strong customer service team with one vision. Doing so will help retain a customer’s loyalty to your brand.
We’ve created a 6-part series on some of the challenges and insights of growing your support team. In this first part, we've compiled a list of 5 important questions to ask before starting a customer service team.
Three support options companies consider are full-time, part-time, or independent contractor. However, you don’t have to stick to one type. You can also do a combination of the three, such as having a full-time team with additional contractors hired during busy seasons.
Also, be sure to keep in mind the different career paths you can provide for customer service agents. Do you have the capacity to offer growth and career enrichment to those who show excellence in customer service?
Ask yourself: If you were a customer, who would you want to answer your questions?
Typically, most customer service representatives only need a high school diploma. However, for some specific industries, more certification is needed. For example, agents in health-related companies may need HIPAA certification. Most companies develop their own training course to certify their customer service agents. Make sure to have the parameters clearly laid out throughout the interview process. You can set tiers of skills ranging from “a must,” to “nice to have,” and all the way down to “bonus.”
Now that we’ve figured out who we need for our customer service team, we'll need to be clear on what they need to do:
A small customer service team cannot possibly keep all channels occupied 24/7. Identify your strongest channel(s) and keep the focus there. This can include email, social media, phone, live chats, self service tools, to name a few. While we know you want to be able to reach customers wherever they are, it’s better to give excellent customer service in one or two of these areas rather than attempting them all and giving spotty service.
We’ve spoken to many fast-growing companies who regret not quickly building an easy customer feedback loop to reduce service costs and help drive sales. Your customers provide an insight into your product or service that you cannot get anywhere else. Giving them a clear and easy channel to address those issues can only strengthen your product and operations.
As a customer service manager, you can use the data given to you by your agents — What issues are your customers calling about? How frequently does each issue arise? How often is a certain remedy applied? These insights help strengthen every other department of your company, from research and development to sales and marketing.
These questions are just a starting point for your company when thinking about the best route to retain your customers. In the next part of our series, we’ll discuss the challenging topic that every manager must address: exploring the benefits/drawbacks of outsourcing vs. organically growing your customer service team.
If you have recently started a customer support team, what are some other challenges or “a-ha moments” that have inspired you?