Believe it or not, running a business is a lot like solving a jigsaw puzzle. You know there’s a big picture at the end, but you have to put the pieces right to get there. If the pieces don’t fit, you are probably far from the result.
Every organization runs on several wheels. One of the important wheels is the customer service department. Without any customer retention program or customer nourishment, any business will cease to exist. Therefore, before looking into any department, we must discuss how to structure a successful customer service department.
1. Things to Keep in Mind before Strategizing your Customer Service Department
2. How to Build a Customer Service Department?
You cannot build a successful operation without having a centralized mindset. Every member should be invested in your brand and dedicated to improving the customer experience. Doing the job, because it needs to be done, will lead to sloppy customer treatment. Instead, empower and engage your employees so that it is built for success.
Every industry has a set of unique needs. For example, if you represent a healthcare center, your agents need to be super-empathetic and knowledgeable. There is no wiggle room. Whereas, if you are a product-based company, you will have a different set of priorities. This is why it is important to identify your industry needs and work around them.
From startups to established units, growth and priorities are different at every stage. For a startup, there will be room for flexibility and dynamic decision-making. It will require a flexible and immersive workforce to work things out. Whereas, a scaling business will need dedicated people fulfilling their roles as they are already growing. Hence, the structure of your customer service department becomes heavily dependent on what stage of business you are at. Based on that, your business goals will be different at every stage.
Contact Centers are always bound by some data regulatory rules and service level agreements. It is wise to stick to these without risking your reputation and years of hard work. Hence, you must organize your customer support department in such a way that everyone is bound to keep themselves in check in adherence to these rules. There’s an array of tools and solutions that will assist your team and you must invest in them rightfully.
A business needs different functions to be fulfilled. Identify these roles as customer support agents, customer success agents, and product support agents. What resources do these employees need? How to empower them to have smooth sailing? What hindrances they might face?
All of these questions need to be answered first, before proceeding further.
When I look into the requirements for hiring support people, I see barely any criteria. It is sad how unplanned the hiring process becomes and you mess up your service quality. Instead, look for people with industry knowledge or specific language skills. Hire emotionally intelligent people. You can create a hiring test and see how many people have the problem-solving skills and patience to do it. These skills are essential to building the right team. It is even better if some of these people know how to use the tools that you have in-house. This reduces the onboarding effort and ensures that you can depend on them.
When a department is divided into several teams, information has a high chance of getting clogged. You do not want any bottlenecks hindering your day-to-day workflow. Envisioning interdepartmental communication and how to smoothen it is very important. In the sector of support, this translates to sharing product data, company data, customer information, ticket history, and other essential materials. You should also share progress reports with each team to educate and encourage them accordingly.
70% of customers say that knowledgeable and well-trained agents significantly impact their perception of a brand. Department structuring should prioritize agent development.
Understanding your customer’s journey is also an important factor. You need to hire people for these touchpoints and ensure that they deliver. Identify where your customer base is. Some businesses do well on LinkedIn while others benefit more from Instagram and Facebook. Some businesses get more telephone queries whereas others receive visitors at their physical stores. Do not forget that every channel has its pros and cons. For example, social media is an easy-to-access space for all, so customers will use it which is a pro. But customers also expect an immediate response to social media, which when not delivered can create a bad impression publicly.
So, it is advisable to curate your team according to the channels you want to focus on and then deliver.
Not every issue needs human attention. Sometimes people are in a hurry and would prefer a self-service option as well. This is why you need to offer alternatives to your customers. These alternatives can be automated voice support, a chatbot, a knowledge base, or even a customer-driven forum for your community. Each of these solutions should have an option to direct the customer to a live agent, but despite that should be self-sufficient. These services are more commonly used now than they were before. People expect immediate assistance and if they can help themselves, they will. It requires zero waiting and is available around the clock. Plus, when the customers can resolve an issue easily by themselves, they feel more confident with your brand.
Customer service should be data-driven. Having the right set of KPIs, TAT, and SLAs is vital. The customer service team should monitor all these KPIs for every interaction. Having the right contact center platform and Service CRM ensures that all data is captured and escalation happens at the right time to solve the customer's concern. Measuring the CSAT score is essential for every interaction to avoid any surprises and eventual churn of clients.
Develop a feedback collection program
Customer feedback is gold. If a customer is filling out a survey or offering feedback, you must make sure it reaches the right team. Most of the time, these feedbacks or suggestions do not make it beyond the support team. There is no use of it if no action is taken on these. That is why design accordingly and gather data from these processes. These insights will tell you where you are doing well or performing poorly.
Offering excellent support is an organizational effort. Yes, you need a robust customer support team to run good service. But other departments also have a role to play. You cannot succeed if you keep selling faulty products. Hence, the entire brand must become customer-centric to deliver results. It is an ongoing process and there is no end to how much you can learn from data. Invest in the right technology to generate real-time actionable data and perform on it. While most of the tricks and tips of the customer service industry rely on work and technology, at the center of it is human beings who want to purchase. Understand their philosophy and create a better experience.
Author Bio: Sweta is a passionate technical writer with an experience in digital marketing. Outside work, she is a devoted Esports advocate.