If you’re a relatively new company, growth and expansion is exciting. You’re getting new customers left and right which is creating exciting opportunities for your business. Maybe you’re finally able to afford a booth at that large tradeshow or even hire a few new employees. However, new customers also mean more customer relationships that need to be maintained and nurtured. Especially in the B2B (business to business) world, customer interactions are extremely important as many industries rely on customer advocacy and referrals for new business.
With your company growth continuing, how do you start scaling your customer support operation to ensure satisfaction levels remain high? Here are a few tips…
Have a single person “own” and oversee customer support – In a small company, it’s easy to have customer support be a secondary job. Employees from account management, development, and IT may come and go, supporting customers as they have time or are needed. While this can work initially, as you scale someone needs to have ownership over all support interactions. Ideally this should be an internal person in a full-time role that is a strong communicator and motivator. Your entire company should be able to communicate with this person frequently, including off-hours should an emergency arise.
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Incorporate customer feedback into your support strategy – With a single person now “owning” customer support, it’s time to be more strategic when it comes to helping customers. One important metric that’s easy to obtain and understand is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This score is created by asking your customers one question – “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” – so you can identify what customers are advocates and what customers need extra attention. By knowing even just a little bit more about your customers, you’ll be able to meet their needs better and increase customer retention rates.
Implement customer support software that works now but can grow with you – Simply put, the sooner you start using a sophisticated customer support software solution the better. Not only will it be incredibly helpful for organizing customer support, but it will make your team feel bigger and more productive. How? Primarily by utilizing ticket automation features within the software to work smarter and faster. For example, if you have three agents with unique specializations, automation rules can immediately route tickets based on title keywords or phrases to the appropriate agent. This routing lets agents see tickets more relevant to their skill set and respond faster.
Try to be more self-sufficient as a support team through integrations – As a company grows, customer support isn’t the only area of a business that sees an increased workload. Developers and account managers also have more on their plate, meaning they have less time in the day to help with support requests. Because of this, implement a plan so customer support relies less on chasing other departments for answers. An ideal way to obtain information is to utilize integrations between support software and other technology systems. For example, utilizing an integration with a bug tracking software such as JIRA will let support agents know exactly when a development issue has been resolved so they can follow up with a customer and let them know.
To conclude, when you start scaling your support operation it’s important the focus remains on your customers. Make sure a single person “owns” customer support operations and that you have simple but effective ways to gauge customer happiness. After this, utilize support software to stay organized and rely less on other people in your company for answers. Growing a support team can be tough, but making the right moves early on can accelerate your growth in the future. This is because good support keeps customers around, letting you build upon a strong customer core as the foundation of your business.