One of the biggest challenges faced by companies is maintaining stellar customer support as they scale.
More customers means more calls to answer, more problems to solve, more complaints to make right. Without quality training and systems, your support team simply won’t be able to keep pace even when you hire additional agents. Important indicators like Client Satisfaction and Net Promoter Scores will start to suffer, and you may not be able to keep growing as quickly as you planned.
Don’t panic yet though!
Here at FluentStream, we’re lucky enough to have our own in-house customer satisfaction guru to help lead us down the path of support enlightenment. His name is Casey McNally, and he’s been helping companies successfully scale their support teams longer than I’ve been alive.
Let’s take a quick look at his credentials:
- Started his own internet communications company in the late 90’s and had to set up a national contact center from scratch
- Spent over 15 years at HomeAdvisor, working with a contact center team of 650+ people
- Has guided FluentStream to multiple customer service awards while more than doubling the size of our team
You can usually find Casey floating above his office chair, numerous headsets taped to his head so he can handle eight support calls at once. However, today he was nice enough to take a break and share the top lessons for scaling a customer support team without sacrificing quality.
1. Make Sure Employees are Well-Trained
“The single most important factor in successfully scaling a support team is to make sure you have the right people who are trained properly. No matter how many agents you add, your training needs to stay consistent and high-quality across the board.
Believe it or not, your phone system can actually be a massive help.”
VoIP systems like FluentStream allow your new hires to listen in on live calls and easily review recordings to see how the pros handle difficult situations. In both cases, your customers won’t be able to hear them, allowing new hires to ask as many questions as they want without interrupting your calls.
When new hires can finally start taking calls of their own, they won’t have to do so alone. Managers or experienced agents can also join the call — once again without the customer being able to hear — feeding answers and advice to make sure your new hires don’t panic or leave the customer on hold forever.
As if all that wasn’t enough to help get new hires up to speed, all those on-call training features we just discussed can be used remotely on any internet-connected device.
For all the details on how a VoIP phone system helps you do a better job of training new support agents, check out our full blog.
2. Save Everyone Time with Auto Attendants
“Every time someone calls your business, their goal is to get what they need as quickly as possible. So if the wrong employee answers, the customer will have to articulate what they want, be told they aren’t speaking to the right person, and then wait on hold to explain themselves all over again.”
Auto Attendants present every caller with a polite introduction and then a clear, concise menu of their options. Instead of bogging down your support agents with unrelated questions, they can connect directly to the person who can actually help them.
That means more time for your support agents to actually, you know, support customers with problems instead of acting like switchboard operators.
Overall, the key to a successful Auto Attendant is to make sure it addresses the most common reasons customers call your business and provides pathways for them to get help before one of your phones even has to ring.
3. Use Automatic Feedback Features to Your Advantage
“Nothing frustrates a customer more than calling into a support line and not getting the level of service they expect. Sure, sometimes they’ll let you know point blank that they’re unhappy, but most folks will be polite on the phone and then just take their business elsewhere.
If you don’t have ways for customers to let you know they had a negative experience besides saying it on the phone, you’re losing customers.”
Options like automatic post-call surveys and follow-up satisfaction emails give customers a chance to review their experience without having to be confrontational. They’re a fantastic improvement tool for any team, but especially when your business is growing and you’re concerned about maintaining your usual level of quality.
Another useful tool for catching customer problems before they spiral into complaints is Voicemail Sentiment Analysis. I know, I know… it sounds like some fancy thingamajig off CSI: Miami, but it’s actually quite simple. Whenever your support team receives an angry or negative voicemail, managers or even the whole team can be instantly alerted.
That way, the customer gets a call back immediately and leaves the conversation happy rather than having to wait, festering, until someone happens to check their inbox.
Remember, even if the majority of your customer support calls go well, adding automatic feedback features to your toolbox can help you improve in ways you didn’t know were necessary.
4. Leverage Call Parking and Advanced Queues
“No matter how good your support agents are, when things get busy, they’re going to need to either put some people on hold or send them to voicemail. When you’re scaling the business, the number of calls you’re taking tends to stay ahead of how fast you can hire.
Setting up features like call parking and queues for your support team goes a long way towards keeping customers from going to voicemail and keeping everything manageable for your team.”
Call parking is a business phone feature that allows you to put a call on hold (or “park” it) so that other support agents can pick it up on their phones when available.
Meanwhile, call queues have grown far past their humble beginnings as a communications waiting room that plays seasonal hold music. On modern VoIP systems, call queues can play custom messages about deals or promotions, give customers the option to receive a call back instead of waiting, and even provide you with in-depth reporting on the performance of your team.
5. Stay Available with Forwarding and After-Hours Options
"When your team is small and dedicated, it’s easy to stay nimble and provide whatever help your customers need whenever they need it. Whether there’s an assigned after-hours cell phone someone takes home every night, or a communal voicemail you check throughout the evening, help is always just a call away.
But then, as your company grows, it’s easy to start using your standard business hours and busy schedules as excuses that are more convenient for your staff than your customers. I get it, you have enough to keep track of already, but once again this is where a VoIP phone system can come to your rescue."
Easy forwarding to employee cell phones, browser dialers that allows you to make and receive calls on your laptop, a mobile app so you can use your cell phone to talk with customers without giving out your personal number — FluentStream has all these features and more to make sure you’re able to provide support anywhere, at any time.
Plus, it’s easy as pie to set up an after-hours auto attendant that kicks in automatically outside your normal business hours, giving your customers even more choices for how they want their problems to be solved.
Have more questions about how to scale your support team without sacrificing quality? Want to learn more about how a FluentStream system can improve your customer experience and increase revenue? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 303-GO-CLOUD and selecting Option 1.