Our Support Team is the backbone of our operations and critical to our customer experience. Our team helps customers simplify complex problems and make business payments easy. By providing a simple and positive experience, our support staff is able to bring knowledge and understanding to customers so they can get quick resolutions. A recent Walker … Read More
The core to any successful operation is having strong people, process, and technology; however, the magic of taking an operation to the next level happens when these three are in continuous discovery and improvement. People: Your greatest asset and investment Motivated, happy people are the key to the success of your operation. Invest early and … Read More
Today there is pressure for companies to deliver outstanding products and exceptional customer experiences. To achieve this, companies need to focus not only on efficiency and effectiveness, but also foster a culture of continuous improvement. When I first took over leading a large contact center training organization, I was surprised to find that speed in … Read More
Our Support Team is the backbone of our operations and
critical to our customer experience. Our team helps customers simplify complex
problems and make business payments easy. By providing a simple and positive
experience, our support staff is able to bring knowledge and understanding to
customers so they can get quick resolutions.
A recent Walker
Study found that by the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake
price and product as the key brand differentiator. Meeting customer
expectations in the new decade means shifting from customer focused to customer
So, what makes our Support team world-class? Here’s a more in depth look at how our Support team works and operates.
What does it mean to be a Support Team? (aka Customer
When you apply this definition to customer service and how
we support our customers, it means that we are there to help carry the weight
with or for our customers when they have questions or concerns. We are there to help identify issues or
provide feedback that keeps everything upright.
What type of team does it take to support our customers?
It takes team members that have a balance of three qualities:
Each one of these qualities in tandem with understanding the business driver is the key to delivering outstanding support in times of need for our customers.
Putting yourself in the customer’s position and identifying where they require help, or where something didn’t go as planned. Responding to questions as quickly as possible to let customers know we are there for them and we are going to work through this together.
A drive to find the answer to the problem. Many times, when working on support/customer service/escalations cases, the team member must put on their detective hat and follow each clue to find the answer for what happened in that case. They need to look at why something usually works but this time it didn’t. There is a strong need for ownership to see the case through to the end.
Finding a way to get the issue
solved or problem fixed for the customer.
Not everyone can have all the answers all the time, but it is expected
that team members will do the research needed to find someone who does know the
answer and will help them solve the case.
Those three qualities bear the weight the issue with
You may be asking yourself where do I find these
compassionate, determined, and resourceful people?
They are in your organization now. Look for the people who love to investigate
issues. They may be the people that take
longer working through the normal workflow because they want to find out why. Look for the people that ask why and say, “this
is a bad customer experience if we don’t fix this issue”.
Sometimes you are thinking, “uh oh here comes a question I
can’t answer or here is another problem I can’t fix” but flip it on its head
and think, “wow, this person has the
determination to understand how we can make things better for our customers.” Those
are the people that you want to help your customers solve issues or answers
questions. They will also let you know when something is not working as it
should for the business to be successful.
What can your Support team do for your business?
Quite often, businesses do not see that their support teams can provide valuable insights into where the breaks are in their processes. It is valuable to create feedback channels for support teams leading into the various business units in a company. Creating a feedback channel into those business units can save on costs and reduce waste. Using this feedback can drive small changes over time instead of discovering deep rooted issues that create large projects because they were not raised as issues until they got to critical mass. With many customers using social media as a feedback tool, it is important to get in front of an issue by leveraging your own customer service teams to tell what is not working as it should.
It is continual balance, like when you balance a baseball
bat on the palm of your hand. Sight
movements keeps the bat in place but if you wait until the bat is more than a 45-degree
angle it takes a huge effort to get the bat back in place.
Listening to the feedback from the Support Team helps
keep the business upright.
Now, you may ask yourself, how do I gather all this feedback
that I am going to get from my customer service teams?
Review the communication tools you have in your business and think about how you can use what you currently have in place. Maybe you can leverage a group chat for your customer service team to share issues they are finding. You may have a ticketing application that your team can use to open tickets for ideas or issues. You can also leverage managers in the customer service space to collect feedback and send via email or a communication app.
The key is to get the information and put a plan in place, organize it, and even rate on a scale of importance. Then start thinking about how to fix issues that will drive the best results for the customer and the business. There are many tools and methodologies on how to prioritize issues, but the main thing is to PRIORITIZE them then FIX them.
Businesses are only as good as their foundation, and your support/customer
service team helps bear the weight of customer concerns and questions as well
as helping the business stay upright.
The core to any successful operation is having strong people, process, and technology; however, the magic of taking an operation to the next level happens when these three are in continuous discovery and improvement.
Your greatest asset and investment
Motivated, happy people are the key to the success of your operation.
Invest early and often in your greatest assets as they run the engine of today
and will develop into your future leaders.
Balance the hiring and promotion of talent, internally and externally
Develop leadership, managerial and influencing skills in addition to job skills
Recognize successes, great and small
Process: Staying ahead of change
Processes that once worked well must be challenged as your
products, business, industry, and environment evolve. Client and customer needs
change over time and so must the processes that support them.
Map and monitor your processes to understand
efficiencies and waste
Incorporate Voice of the Customer (VoC) into end-to-end
operational feedback loops
Continuously monitor Key Performance Indicators
(KPIs) as well as metrics
Technology: Enabling better outcomes
Technology is the great enabler for monitoring processes and
outcomes and identifying new opportunities for greater productivity. Balancing
technology with talented people is the sweet spot that helps to define and
differentiate a company’s brand, experience and identity.
Connect your people through visual management tools,
physically and digitally
Automate the easy and simple for your customers
Utilize your people over technology to solve for
the more complex problems that require integrative thinking and emotional
A maniacal focus on continuous improvement is essential for any
operation to get to the next level. Never stop improving, working to do things
better and faster than yesterday. The small changes add up to the big wins. Analyze
the data, listen to your customers, and leverage your team’s strengths to fuel positive
change. Identify opportunities, prioritize them, and deliver – over and over
again. This will drive a competitive advantage and elevate your operation to
the next level.
Today there is pressure for companies to deliver outstanding products and exceptional customer experiences. To achieve this, companies need to focus not only on efficiency and effectiveness, but also foster a culture of continuous improvement.
When I first took over leading a large contact center training organization, I was surprised to find that speed in training call center agents far exceeded the quality of the training. The measurement of success was the number of classes conducted and the number of agents trained. In other words, the more, the better. What was not being measured was the newly trained agent’s proficiency, the quality of that training, or the agent’s performance the first 90-days performing the job. The result was a massive number of mistakes, unhappy performers, lower morale, and higher attrition.
Quality or Speed?
You cannot focus solely on quality or speed. Like any great partnership, it’s about striking the right balance. Quality AND Speed are two keys to opening the door to superior operational performance and an outstanding customer experience. When thinking about what a world-class operation is, there are many allusions to quality and speed:
• Deliver products and services on time. • Be agile enough to adjust their processes to accommodate changes. • Realize that people are their most vital asset and continually train, develop, and coach. • Measure the core metrics that drive success and avoid analysis paralysis. • Know that quality is determined by customers.
At the end of the day, we are all consumers, and what do consumers want? A great product, service, or experience—now. This can only be achieved when quality and speed are in sync. Too much of an emphasis on either, without purpose or intent, can result in suboptimal practices and behaviors. Going fast without well-documented processes and procedures introduces performance and reputational risk.
Quality is a must-have, without it you’ll have no products or services to sell, and no operation to support them. Consumers are quick to react to poor quality, errors, long lead times, and false promises.
Think about your last poor experience. What impact did it have on your loyalty to that brand? Disappointed consumers are more vocal than satisfied ones. Today’s obsession with social media magnifies poor customer experiences. A singular focus on quality can result in a great product, service, or experience that never sees the light of day. This is where speed comes in – speed to market and speed of delivery.
Speed is a must-have, but it needs to be strategic speed. According to the Harvard Business Review “Need Speed? Slow Down” article, “Simply increasing the pace of production often leads to decreased value over time.” When speed results in errors, omissions, and failures, the balance between quality and speed has been lost and must be regained. There are many attributes that influence speed – experience, tenure, processes, training, technology, leadership, etc.
Understanding the capabilities of your team in conjunction with the operational ecosystem surrounding them is essential in fostering a world-class operation. Moving slower initially to get things right will increase the likelihood of long-term success. This rings true across various dimensions – people, products, processes, tools, and technology. Balancing quality and speed must be adopted at the top and valued company wide.
Equally important, and not mutually exclusive.
In addition to the union of quality and speed, world-class operations are comprised of great people. In his book “Good to Great,” Jim Collins states, “people are not your most important asset. The right people are.”. This is true regardless of the company, industry, role, or function. A world-class operation and team must be comprised of the right people that possess strong core values, are eager to learn, are willing to continuously execute and improve, and put team and mission ahead of self.
Bringing a balance of quality and speed will change an organization’s operations and customer experience from good to great.
Our team has seen great success and unceasing improvement in quality and speed by modernizing learning strategies and adopting a classroom environment to educate and train team members. By measuring the quality of interactions and creating a channel for feedback, we have adopted metrics and addressed failing metrics. We’ve shortened training timelines by teaching what was necessary and allowing time for questions. We’ve reduced mistakes while decreasing attrition and increasing morale. The result has been a happier, more proficient team that delivers world-class customer service and experiences.
Schedule a live demo today.
Paymerang 7401 Beaufont Springs Drive Suite 300 Richmond, VA 23225