Customer Service: Tips on How to Scale Your Operations
More than $1.5 trillion is lost every year because of shoddy customer service. The importance of great customer service clearly can’t be understated.
Image from Pixabay
Research suggests that approximately 70% of people are willing to spend more money with organizations that provide top notch customer service and 60% to 70% of consumers who are satisfied will return to make repeat transactions and 89% will ghost you if the service fails to meet their needs.
At the heart of stellar customer service? A stellar customer service operations team. These are the professionals who keep everything on track to be productive, efficient, effective and capable of delivering superior service. They define workflows, optimize processes and use data to drive important decisions. They deliver a customer experience that drives customer loyalty.
Given the key role that customer service operation plays in any organization’s success, the question of how to scale it becomes pivotal. After all, the last thing you want is to scale operations at the cost of the customer experience. But here’s the thing — scaling doesn’t always mean adding more bodies to the mix. Embracing a combination of the right tech and a strong, empowered team is the key to everything. And with these X tips, you can deliver on both counts.
Leverage the Power of Automation
The key to using automation to scale operations without sacrificing service is to do so intelligently. Customers rarely appreciate those no-reply email addresses and the inability to reach a human when they need to. But if you embrace automation for repetitive, low-level tasks, you can free up time for the team and increase scale dramatically. For example, you might use chatbots to provide real-time solutions to customers' common questions.
This can quickly resolve common issues and improve customer response time dramatically. You can also use bots to direct inbound questions to the ideal team members by taking customers through a set of questions designed to collect key details and route them to the right team member. That team member will then be empowered with information so they can jump right into working on a resolution.
Empower Your Team
Ritz-Carlton and Zappos both have a loyal customer base. They also both have policies in place that put power in the hands of their large customer service teams. The Ritz gives its 35,000 employees the ability to spend as much as $2,000 to ensure any guest is satisfied. Zappos' 600 Customer Loyalty team members can offer anything from instant refunds to sending surprise flowers to offering overnight shipping. And that's all without having to get manager approval.
This allows customer service team members to move quickly to resolve issues and keep customers satisfied and happy, which only becomes more valuable as you scale operations. Empowering your team minimizes inefficiencies that arise from having to go to a supervisor or manager for approval on every request.
Empower Your Customers
Sometimes customers don’t need — or want — to actually speak with a person. For these customers, having a robust menu of self-service options is vital. As a bonus, it frees up the time and attention of your team, enhancing efficiency and productivity. Bots aren't the only resource to consider.
Adding a convenient FAQ page or a dedicated help center where customers can search for answers to their questions or resources they may need empowers those customers. Creating a user community in which users can answer each other’s questions can also be helpful. Additionally, integrating your knowledge base into your customer service team's inbox can save time, deliver a great customer experience and give the team access to the details they need to have effective conversations with customers without having to go in and out of different systems or open new tabs.
Create and Document Standard Operating Procedures
When you have a small team, you can get by with word of mouth. But as you scale your customer operations, this becomes an inefficient way to do things. Having a clear system in place and documented so everyone can find it when they need it or help with training new employees streamlines processes. Even more importantly, if there’s a crisis or something big going on, having everything set in stone reduces the chances that everyone will be scrambling to figure out what to do and how to proceed.
Monitor Metrics and Create a Sustainable Structure
Key performance indicators — most notably Customer Satisfaction — are essential. You need to monitor them obsessively and blend them with productivity metrics. This will allow you to monitor efficiency and quality at the same time, which is key while growing and scaling. At the same time, create a team structure that can withstand changes in the future. Create ratios of managers to team members and ensure every manager has the training and management they need to be successful now and while the team grows.