The size of a business can be a defining characteristic for any interaction. When it comes to sales, they will approach and speak with you differently based on how many employees and offices you have. With this said, customer support interactions and expectations also vary based on what growth stage a company is currently in. So, how should your company approach customer support at each unique stage of growth and what’s the best technology for you (both now and in the future)? Let’s break down the different growth stages and what you should be looking for in your customer support software solution…
Start-up (less than 10 employees) – The phrase “all hands on deck” never felt more appropriate than when it comes to customer support at a start-up company. Every single employee, including the CEO, is a part of daily customer support efforts and communication.
Look for… Ticket Management, Ticket Tagging, Cloud-based Software
Money is likely tight which means, although certainly not advised, customer communication is often tracked via email, spreadsheets, or other documents. Stop this habit before it becomes problematic. Happy customers are the key to business growth, so opt for cloud-based software to start organizing your tickets more efficiently.
Small (11-50 employees) – Companies this size likely have an individual or small team dedicated to customer support. Making the jump from start-up not only means your employee headcount may have double or tripled, but also your customer base.
Look for… Customer Tracking, Software Integrations, Ticket Automation
With an influx of new business, making sense of all the additional support inquiries can be a nightmare. Ensure your software organizes tickets not just by contact but also by customer to stay organized. Working smarter also becomes a higher priority, meaning a system with strong integration and ticket automation capabilities is a must.
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Mid-size (51-100 employees) – Approaching the triple digit mark with employees means diversifying and optimizing as a business. This is when every employees isn't on a first name basis anymore and keeping communication tight is crucial. It’s also when companies truly begin planning for “what’s next” to keep the growth going.
Look for… Internal Communication Tools, Support Reporting, Products and Inventory
Internal communication tools, such as a general conversation area within software that users can ask questions for the larger team, is a great way to eliminate guesswork. Companies of this size also need to really start looking at their products and why they are successful. Focusing on key products with good support metrics helps to plan for the future.
Large (100+ employees) – Reaching triple digits as a company means it’s time to let go of some power in the customer support relationship (both internally and externally). You’ll have more “specialists” than ever before, and it’s important to make efficient use of their time. It’s also essential to evolve with your growing customer base by empowering them to help themselves while still being there when they need you.
Look for… Task Management, Customer Hub, SLA Management
Support software with a task management solution built in can be fantastic for larger teams as it allows multiple employees to work on different areas of one ticket at the same time. Launching a full-scale customer hub (with a Knowledge Base of information as its backbone) gives customers 24/7 access to answers, while managing SLAs directly within your support software boosts retention by ensuring critical issues aren’t missed.
Extra-Large (1000+ employees) – Companies this size are few and far between, yet there is still support software out there that adds value to their business. Finding a way to “group” employees internally is essential, and so is leveraging the huge customer base they’ve built over the years to create support content.
Look for… Internal Groups, Community, Customization
Creating different groups (by department or location) in customer support software is a must to keep issues localized and ensure the correct employees are responding. Adding solutions such as a community forum can take the concept of 24/7 knowledge even further by enabling your own customers to assist their industry peers. This “crowd sourcing” saves extra-large companies both time and money in the long run, and can also boost your brand.
We hope this stage-by-stage growth guide to customer support software features was helpful. At the end of the day, regardless of the size of your company, keeping the customer as the top priority is the most important aspect of support. Staying organized and working efficiently as a support team will go a long way in improving satisfaction and the impact support has on customer retention.