The Ultimate Guide to Customer Support Operations

In this guide you'll learn:

  • What is customer support operations (aka support ops) ?

  • What does a support operations team do?

  • Why is customer support operations important?

  • Who needs customer support operations?

  • How to build and scale your customer support operations

  • What tools do support operations work with?

  • How to save resources with support operations

Customer support is hard work, even under the best conditions. Your agents are on the frontlines, facing down a long queue of frustrated customers that only seems to get longer. Talking to support is the worst part of their day, so times is of the essence. You want to be sure you’ve got the product expertise ready to help them resolve their issue quickly, and with a friendly attitude.

But what happens when that’s not enough? You’ve brought on more agents, but there’s got to be a smarter way to work. You've asked about trying new processes and workflows to become more efficient, but between overseeing multiple teams and managing accounts you don't have the bandwidth to implement them.

This is a job for support operations: an elite unit with a very particular set of skills — skills acquired over a career that provides agents with the professional tools they need to get the job done and optimize customer happiness.

What is Support Operations (also known as

Support Ops)?

Customer support operations teams allow support departments to better serve the customer and the company as a whole. Support Ops teams are brought in to create a work culture that is conducive to agents doing their best work without needing to figure out new tools or logistics.

Whereas the customer support manager oversees agents, and agents care for customers, support operations focuses on providing tools, writing documentation, developing processes or implementing systems. All so that the support department is functioning at maximum efficiency, so agents can focus on doing their best work – caring for customers.

What does a support operations team do?

Support operations is responsible for overseeing training and quality programs that ensure agents provide a consistent level of support. They organize your knowledge management efforts in the interest of promoting customer self-service and maintaining your legacy knowledge. They scrutinize workflows on a large scale to identify and remove any possible roadblocks that cause bottlenecks in performance.

Finally, the support operations team combs through data to extract insights that can then be fed back to marketing and product teams, as well as to senior management – with recommendations for how to continually improve upon your support efforts.

Customer support operations is essentially a behind-the-scenes strategic team, carefully assembled pieces each performing a different function that serves the whole, and benefits your customs support agents in their work. These roles should be clearly defined each with their own specific expertise and responsibilities to create a well-structured operational layer that will collectively own a set of responsibilities.

Team responsibilities

What does it actually mean to support a team of support agents? How can support ops make them better? The responsibilities actually break down into a few distinct categories that span a wide range of tasks.

  1. Training Before you put a new agent out on the front lines, you want to be sure they’re ready to interact with your valued customers. Training agents to incorporate your organization’s legacy knowledge is a critical step in the life cycle of a support department.

  2. Workforce management Not all support departments carry the same load. Depending on the business type and size, support agents might be receiving tickets in one time zone or many. Agents that support a business in food delivery might be relatively quiet in the mornings and afternoons, but experience a spike in complaints around lunch and dinner when the majority of trans