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How to Scale Your Support Team

anna jay anna jay , 7/25/2018
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Offering great customer support is prerequisite for any company nowadays. The competition has become intense and the present generation customers are smarter and way more demanding than what they were in the past. However, offering superior support to the customers with consistency is not exactly a cakewalk for any entity. The skill of the support agents and deployment of suitable help desk software are required, along with several other factors. Retaining the support agents is also required and often businesses face hurdles in scaling the support operations.

Scaling of customer support operations is inevitable

Whether your company sells wireless mobile accessories or garments, it will need to scale support operation at some point of time. This is near inevitable for any company, actually. When you run a startup, managing nuances of customer support operations is not hard. The number of agents is limited and it takes some time before customer base starts growing significantly. However, things become complex and difficult to manage over time. You have to recruit more support agents to cater to ever growing number of customer calls and emails. At a point, you are left with no other option than scaling the entire support operation setup.

Hurdles faced by companies in scaling customer support operations

Upgrading or scaling the customer support operation setup is not easy- in most instances. The businesses face some common hurdles when making the migration. Some of the most commonplace problems faced by companies in upgrading existing customer support setup are:

  • Burnout and confusion in the agents- When the customer support operations are scaled up, the agents or a section of them may face burnout and confusion may prevail for some time. It is natural and can be handled in proper ways. After working in a certain way and getting used to a specific workload, the agents suddenly find it tough to cope with changes and enhanced workload.
  • Data management issues- Managing data during support operation upgrade can be a hassle too. This can also be triggered by change in software setup. If the company switches to a new helpdesk solution, the agents may find it tad hard to sync, access and fetch data. However, with time they get used to the new setup.
  • Delay and conflicts- As the changes are deployed in support operations, the agents try to cope with those and during that time dealing with influx of growing amount of customer calls, emails can lead to temporary performance issues. There can be delay in resolving queries and grievances for a while. Sharing resources with the other teams can also be hassle some at these times.

Ways to smoothen scaling of customer support operation in the company

While upgrading and scaling the support operation in a company is not easy, certain measures can be adopted to make the transition easier for the employees. These are:

  • Extensive training and preparation- This is a prerequisite in any organization before the customer support operation setup is enhanced or changed. The workforce should be given required training and they should also be prepared to tackle situations that may crop up during the transition process. It will help reduce the burnout and confusion in them. Some companies conduct training workshops and assess readiness in the employees before beginning the migration process.
  • Switching to more suitable software solution- When you are scaling up supports operations in the company, it can be a good time to switch to a new help desk software solution too. Buying and deploying a new support desk solution that has enhanced options for scaling operations can be of help. Of course, you have to analyze a number of factors including operational cost, agent capacity, social media and database integrations, security before selecting a new solution.
  • Deploying automation can help- To ensure the support agents can breathe easy during and after scaling of operations, you can resort to automation. Automation of repetitive and basic support operations is what many companies are experimenting with and initial results are quite encouraging. Live chat automation through deployment of programmed chat bots can lessen workload on the agents, for example. This also helps in catering to customer queries when agents are either busy or absent. Modern scalable help desk software solutions come with inbuilt templates and features to respond automatically to common emails and queries online. These tools also have features to convert client queries from email to tickets automatically.
  • Deploying real time monitoring-As the support operations are scaled up, each client faces increased workload. They have to deal with more calls, chat sessions and e-mails per day. Recruiting more agents can help things to an extent but coping with increased work cannot be evaded totally. To ensure the agents work as they should, real time monitoring can be deployed. This can be done through software dashboard which is used to observe each nuance of support operations. This way pending work can be tracked and completed easily. The software can be used to record logs of chats, calls and keep track of emails easily.
  • Sync between various channels- Proper helpdesk software can be used to make tackling increased workload common during support operation scaling more tolerable. The various channels of customer interaction like email, chat and IVR should be synced. So, if an agent using any channel faces problem he/she can use another channel to carry on interaction with the customer.
  • Making scheduling flexible- Coping with the numerous changes and enhanced workload during scaling of customer support operations can be stressful on employees, no matter if they are new or veteran ones. So, the company may resort to flexible work schedules to help them cope better with the added stress sand changes. Rotational work shifts can be useful in this regard. Similarly, the company may reduce the support operation hours after informing customers for a limited period until the scaling and transition is done.
  • Offering self support – During transition to a bigger and newer support setup, the company may offer the customers a self service system to ease the load on the agents. This can be useful for customers who seek solutions to basic or small issues. This self support section can be retained even after the transition is complete and it can be enhanced too.
  • Hiring suitable employees- While revamping the existing support operations setup, you may also hire seasoned support professionals. They can augment the existing workforce and their expertise will make things easier for all.
  • Setting a realistic time plan- Above all, you need to set up a realistic time plan for migrating to a new and bigger support operation setup. Hurrying will lead to more problems and you have to consider nuances of existing operations while setting the time plan.
  • Informing the customers – It would be prudent to inform the existing as well as prospective customers about service transition. They can be informed about temporary glitches or reduced way of services for the migration. Do not forget to thank them in advance for coping with the changes!

Summing it up

Before switching the existing customer support setup, careful planning and scheduling is required. A change of ticketing solution and recruitment of seasoned candidates for support can also be useful.