In 2023, the customer is still king, but now they ACTUALLY expect to be treated like royalty. Prioritizing your customers has become more important than ever, especially with the threat of a recession looming on the horizon.
This year is all about giving the best possible experience to your customers so that they stay with you through the storm of recession. Not just this, you gotta make your customers feel that you are with them through thick and thin. So, keeping up with them becomes as important as other revenue operations of your business.
As a small business owner, we know scaling your customer service operations as your business grows can be a daunting task. It can be challenging to maintain the same level of service that you provided when you first started, especially with limited resources and budget.
Given the restraints, it is tempting to neglect your customer service.
And that’s when the wheels would start to come off your wagon.
Before things get worse, let’s just cut to the chase and dive into how you can scale your customer service and maintain the same level of service that you provided when you first started.
Decoding the term ‘scaling customer service’
Have you ever tried to squeeze into a packed elevator during rush hour? It’s not a pleasant experience, right?
Well, that’s kind of what it’s like for businesses that don’t scale their customer service as they grow.
You might think that scaling customer service is all about a business increasing the resources, processes, and capabilities of its customer service operation to keep up with a growing number of customers.
Well, it’s more than just that.
Scaling customer service is all about balancing the needs of your customers with the needs of your business. It’s not just about adding more resources or channels – it’s about creating a seamless, efficient, and effective customer experience that drives loyalty and growth.
This can include adding more channels, like phone, email, chat, or social media, to handle more requests. You may also add new features or self-service options, optimize workflows, or improve response times. The goal is to make sure that your customer service is still top-notch, even as your business grows.
By doing this, businesses can ensure that they can provide quality customer service, no matter how big their customer base becomes. It’s like having an elevator that fits everyone comfortably – no one has to feel left behind!
But how do you know it’s time for your business to scale its customer service operations?
Triggers for scaling your customer service
Scaling customer service is like stretching before a workout – it’s essential for a successful and sustainable performance. Just like how your muscles may feel sore after a good stretch, your customer service may also face some challenges as your business grows. So, what are the triggers that indicate the need to scale customer service?
- Low CSAT scores If your customer satisfaction scores are consistently low, it may be an indication that its existing customer service operations are not meeting customer expectations. This can prompt the business to scale up its customer service operations, invest in new technologies, or retrain staff to improve the customer experience.
- Increase in customer complaints If a business sees a spike in customer complaints, it may be an indicator that its existing customer service resources are insufficient to handle the volume of requests. In this case, scaling up may be necessary to improve customer satisfaction and prevent further damage to the company’s reputation.
- Need to support new products/services When a business introduces new products or services, it may also need to increase its customer service capacity. Customers may have questions or need support related to the new offerings, and additional resources may be needed to handle these requests.
- Expanding to new markets If a business expands to new geographic regions, it may need to provide customer service in additional languages and time zones. This can require new hires, technology, and processes to accommodate the needs of customers in different regions.
- Tech advancements Advances in technology, such as the increasing use of chatbots, social media, and mobile apps, are changing the way customers interact with businesses. If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest customer service trends, you may need to invest in new technologies and scale up your customer service operations to accommodate these changes.
01. Monitor customer service metrics
If you’re looking to scale up your customer service, one of the first things you’ll want to do is start keeping an eye on your customer service metrics.
Monitoring customer service metrics can help you understand where you are in terms of customer service and where your business aspires to reach. This involves tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) related to customer services, such as response time, resolution rate, and customer satisfaction ratings.
For example, if a small business notices that its response time is longer than the industry average, it may need to hire additional staff or implement a chatbot to improve its response times. Alternatively, if they see that their customer satisfaction ratings are consistently low, they may need to reevaluate their training programs or invest in new technology to better meet customer needs.
Here’s how you can monitor your customer service metrics:
- Define your KPIs: Start by identifying which metrics are most important to your business and your customers.
- Set goals: Once you have your KPIs identified, set specific goals for each metric. For example, you might aim to respond to 90% of customer inquiries within 24 hours.
- Collect and analyze data: Use tools like customer service software or surveys to collect data on your KPIs. Then, regularly review and analyze this data to identify trends and areas for improvement.
- Take action: Finally, use your data to make data-driven improvements to your customer service strategy.
By keeping an eye on these metrics, small businesses can gain valuable insights into their performance and make data-driven improvements to their customer service strategy.
02. Hire the right people
The next thing while scaling customer service putting together a champion team. And just like a coach wants the best players on their side, as a small business owner, you want to hire the right people who can tackle your customers’ problems with ease. Customers want to talk to someone who understands their issues and can provide timely solutions.
The right employees can make all the difference in how customers perceive your brand and whether they stay loyal to your company. So, it’s important to find employees with the right soft skills, like the ability to listen, empathize, and problem-solving.
And just like a good coach, providing thorough training and support can help your team win the game of customer service. Remember, in the world of customer service, every conversation is a slam dunk or a foul ball, so choose your players wisely.
If you’re finding it challenging to hire customer support agents and need a concise framework to do so, then don’t forget to check out this in-depth blog on hiring support agents.
03. Automate customer service processes
Scaling customer service can feel like climbing Mount Everest without the right gear. But what if we told you there’s a way to reach the summit without breaking a sweat?
One word- automation!
You must note that scaling customer service isn’t just about adding more staff. It’s about creating efficient and effective processes, leveraging technology to automate routine tasks, and empowering your customer service team to focus on providing exceptional experiences for customers.
Automation can increase efficiency, freeing up time for more personalized conversations with customers and allowing businesses to handle more inquiries in less time while maintaining a high level of quality service. It can also tackle the mundane stuff while customer service teams can focus on more complex issues that require human intervention.
One way to automate customer service is by
- Using chatbots to handle common inquiries. Chatbots can quickly respond to frequently asked questions, provide product information and even process orders. They can operate around the clock, ensuring that customers always have access to assistance.
- Another way to automate customer service is using canned responses to answer common inquiries, such as shipping or refund questions. This reduces the time it takes to respond to common issues saving the time for your agents to act on complex issues.
04. Offer multiple channels for customer support
When your business starts to grow, you’ll notice an uptick in customer queries and requests. At this point, it becomes clear that a one-size-fits-all approach to customer service simply won’t cut it!!
A more personalized approach that takes into account the unique needs and concerns of your expanding customer base is needed. To achieve this, it’s important to be present on multiple communication channels.
From the classic phone and email to the more modern live chat and social media, having multiple communication channels can make a world of difference for your customers.
This not only enables a personalized approach to customer service but gives your customers a variety of doors to enter your business, so they can choose the one that’s most convenient for them.
Just make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle and use an omnichannel platform like Helpwise to keep everything organized. With the right tools, you can juggle multiple channels like a pro and provide the support your customers deserve.
05. Create a knowledge base
As your business takes off, your support team can sometimes feel like a one-person band playing a never-ending concert. Well, the constant influx of customer inquiries can be this overwhelming.
But fear not as we have cracked it for you – create a knowledge base.
Creating a knowledge base is like adding a few extra band members, giving your customers the tools to solve their own problems and reducing the volume of inquiries that need to be handled by your support team.
Of course, creating a knowledge base is no small feat, and it requires effort to get it just right. You need to categorize information in a logical way, making sure that your customers can easily find the answers they’re looking for. Make sure that your knowledge base is kept up-to-date with new information and changes.
With a knowledge base, you’ll be able to provide a stellar self-service experience that will have them dancing to your tune and bringing in customers for your business (that too, for free).
06. Empower your employees with the right tools
They say “empowered employees make happy customers”, and nothing empowers customer service employees quite like the right tools. With the help of customer service software, your team can deliver exceptional customer experiences that’ll have your customers stay loyal to your brand.
By using customer service software, your team can track and assign customer inquiries, monitor team performance, and manage communication across multiple channels, all while keeping everything in one place. It’s like having a personal assistant for every team member, without the added payroll expenses!
Empowering your employees with customer service software isn’t enough on its own. You need to provide your team with guidelines and training that allow them to make informed decisions.
With the right tools and training, your team will be able to create an experience that your customers will rave about – and that’s sure to be a hit with your business goals as well.
07. Use customer feedback to improve
When you are scaling your customer service, you can’t just rely on guesswork. You need to use the ultimate weapon in your arsenal: customer feedback which acts like a secret agent on your team who can tell you what your customers are thinking and feeling.
To effectively use customer feedback to scale your customer service, start by gathering feedback through various channels such as social media, email, or surveys. Once you’ve collected the feedback, take the time to really listen to what your customers are saying. Even if their feedback is not entirely positive, it’s important to take it seriously and use it to make meaningful improvements leading your business towards growth.
08. Personalize the customer experience
As a business grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to provide a one-size-fits-all solution for all customers. Personalized support allows businesses to tailor their service to the specific needs of each customer, which can help build stronger relationships and increase their repeat purchases.
Personalized conversations can also help businesses identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions. By tracking customer interactions and preferences, businesses can identify common pain points to improve their overall customer experience and retain customers.
09. Offer proactive support
Proactive support is a customer service approach where a business anticipates and addresses potential issues before they become bigger problems for customers. Instead of waiting for customers to report problems, proactive support involves actively monitoring customer interactions and behavior to identify potential issues and address them proactively.
By actively monitoring social media and other communication channels, businesses can quickly identify potential issues and take swift action to resolve them. It can also improve efficiency by reducing the number of customer queries that need to be addressed reactively.
By supporting your customers proactively, you get the golden chance to make adjustments before their teeny-tiny problems become bigger and they decide to churn.
10. Foster a customer-centric culture
A customer-centric culture is one where every employee understands and prioritizes the needs of the customer. This means that everyone, from the CEO to the frontline staff, is aligned around a common goal of delivering excellent customer service. When a business fosters this kind of culture, it can lead to improved customer satisfaction, increased employee engagement, and improved business outcomes.
To foster a customer-centric culture, leaders should lead by example and prioritize customer needs, demonstrating the importance of this to employees. They must empower employees to take ownership of customer interactions and make decisions that benefit the customer.
Your turn to offer customer satisfaction at scale
Scaling your customer service for your small business won’t be a daunting task with these expert tips.
Remember, the first step to scaling your customer service is to monitor your metrics like a hawk. It’s like keeping a watchful eye to know where you stand and what you need to do to keep growing. Once you have a handle on your metrics, it’s time to bring in the big guns – customer service automation tools and additional staff.
Now, you are ready to scale your customer service like a boss and we are sure that your customers (and your bottom line) will thank you for it.
And don’t forget, in 2023, prioritizing customers won’t just be another smart strategy, it would act as an important survival tactic. Start using a customer service platform like Helpwise that can scale with you.