Many SaaS leaders agree it’s probably the trickiest part of rapid expansion.
You started off in one location, with 30 support agents, and the next thing you know 30 agents are about to turn into 300, scattered in different sites across the globe.
But customers expect the same quality level and are likely to switch brands if they don’t get it, according to customer service stats.
So how to maintain support quality?
The quality of your customer service is equal to the quality of the support agents providing it. When looking for new hires, don’t set the bar low because it’s "just support agents, so students and part-time employees are good enough”.
Don’t get us wrong, hiring students is perfectly fine and a lot of today’s Wix.com team leaders came as students years ago. The point is to find people who will actually care and grow at this job. Disengaged agents who just do their work for a quick buck won’t last, and won’t be helpful for your customers.
Your hiring process for support should be as picky and challenging as for any other position. Regardless if these are in-house or offsite teams. Outsource agents in bulk might be a quick win, but if they’re lowering your support quality level, it only buys you some time before another crisis.
Yakir Lasry, VP of Customer Relations at MyHeritage, emphasizes that when it comes to hiring support agents, candidates go through at least 3 interviews, a bunch of recruitment tasks, and an empathy test, in order to make sure support people can relate to clients.
One of the biggest possible pitfalls in outsourcing is — your external partners may not have the same standards and culture that you do. Go there (even if it’s on the other side of the world), spend a few days on the ground. Listen to calls, talk to customers yourself in front of the team, showcase the culture and support DNA you expect from them. The cost of a trip like that will be paid off fully, in the long run.
Share the Knowledge
Provide all your in-house and remote teams access to the same knowledge and sources. Many times it isn’t obvious: new agents get onboarded, look for documentation, get lost in decks and spreadsheets. Make sure agents have a single source of truth to get started with, and everyone is going through the same process, regardless of location, seniority level, or product they’re assigned to.
Grow Product Experts
In order to ensure high-quality support for customers, you need to make sure you train your people to be product experts and project owners. Not just agents, answering tickets all day long.
Encourage them to learn all product flows inside out and grow dedicated gurus for different issues and products. This way you avoid constantly retraining all agents on products whenever there’s an update.
On top of that, this can seriously improve customer satisfaction. 68% of customers said the service rep was key to a recent positive service experience. 62% said that this was also due to the rep's knowledge or resourcefulness.
However, you can optimize the amount of training needed for different teams, according to the product they are responsible for. Some products are more complex than others and take much longer to master.
Sales are exploding, so are the support requests, and you suddenly need to provide service to a much bigger amount of people. Familiar? We get it.
Let’s say you want to add phone support, and your vision for it is 24/7 global support.
Start with one country, limited hours a day, and see how it works. Build a core group of agents who know the work and can train others, let them run for a month or two and analyze how it goes.
Track the volume, test the agents’ performance, collect feedback, adjust — and then scale what works for more hours, more agents, more countries.
Doron Pryluk, Director of Customer Solutions at Guesty and Alon Mor, VP of Customer Solutions at Wix.com both emphasize that having a quality self-service platform is crucial to saving human resources while actively growing. The secret to a successful scaling strategy is to have as few customers actually contacting you, as possible.
Question. Optimize. Segment
Consistency is crucial, but what if your current KPI’s are outdated? Should they change with product evolution or team growth?
Quality in a small support team is easy to maintain because everyone knows what's expected. But when the team grows you need to match the expectations with something measurable.
Make sure to review and update metrics, or think of a dynamic KPI’s strategy.
Automate the flows. All customer support leaders agree that it’s a way to save dramatically while building positive experiences for users and agents alike.
On top of that, automation actually helps a lot with keeping the consistency of your support.
With saved replies agents can seriously shorten response times by sending preset answers for main popular issues in one click.
Labeling of incoming tickets by topics will let you have custom queues for different user and agent tiers.
Auto Suggestions based on a rule engine enable agents to instantly find and attach relevant articles to their ticket replies.
Contact forms, chat, or article suggestions embedded into relevant product areas will help users get the needed assistance on every step of their journey.
All that helps customers solve basic issues faster and easier thus removes the workload from agents. At the same time, by using the same source of knowledge and content, new employees or outsource teams stay aligned with the rest of the agents.
Utilize customers’ segments and support tiers to save resources. As Danny Pinto, Director of Global Support at Yotpo explains, a new customer will open more tickets compared to the one that is already set up and running smoothly.
So give recent newcomers that extra care.