Pro Tips for Scaling Customer Support Without the Growing Pains

Scaling customer support

Your company is growing, all is going according to your five year plan, and you’re lucky to be adding customers every day. But with growth comes the pressure to provide consistent customer service. Suddenly, the status quo you set up in the beginning isn’t scaling for what you need. Customers are having to wait on hold, and that’s not good. Or it’s taking you longer and longer to answer their emails. Also not good.

Scaling customer support doesn’t just mean having more agents on hand to answer questions as they come in. It means rethinking your customer service strategy — and your technology — to create a process that’s scalable, efficient, and most of all, works for customers.

Scaling customer support across multiple channels

The first consideration when scaling customer support is to take a look at the channels you enable for customers. If you’re still relying solely on phone and email support, your efforts are simply not scalable. But more importantly, you’re not meeting customers where they’re at. Today’s customers prefer messaging interfaces such as web messaging and in-app messaging that lets them type on their own time versus waiting on hold.

But adding customer service channels might sound like way more work — not exactly what you had in mind when you started thinking about scaling customer support. But if you use the right technology, offering your customers multiple contact options won’t exacerbate your team’s workload. There are two important factors that ensure efficiency.

The first is asynchronous messaging which enables customers to send a message and continue on with their day, responding when convenient without losing the session or context. The conversation unfolds much like a text messaging conversation would — organically and fluidly. Unlike live web chat, it does not require a human agent to be available in the moment, so it makes better use of your agents’ time while creating a cadence that works for customers.

The second is to connect all of your customer service channels so a conversation that begins in one channel can transition to another without losing momentum. A complete customer service platform should include a dashboard that provides insight into a particular ticket’s history across your entire customer service ecosystem.

Adding automation to the mix

The next element critical to scaling customer support is automation — a profound way to scale support infinitely. The more customer questions you can answer or route with automation, the easier scaling customer support becomes.

In many cases, answer bots can resolve simple customer queries for you. By connecting your web chat and in-app messaging to your knowledge base, answer bots can help customers self-serve by providing quick answers to routine questions. And more sophisticated, customizable bots can even answer more complex and specific customer questions, such as “When will my item ship?”

If an answer bot can’t solve the customer’s query right off the bat, automated issue routing lets you sort and prioritize issues and customers. AI-powered issue classification conducts the initial category sorting for incoming customer queries and takes the pressure off your human agents to sort issues manually. When a human agent gets the ticket, thanks to automation, they’re already supplied with all the information they need about the customer and the query.

Helpshift benchmark data shows that brands that automate customer service operations by at least half maintain high CSAT while also making their operations more efficient. 

Using your human staff intelligently

Automation and bots can’t solve every problem for you. But they can augment human agents to provide more effective support. For instance, using AI classification to route customer queries to the right agents means they aren’t wasting time on issue routing, and they can jump right into problem solving. It’s a far superior experience for customers, too, who don’t have to endure being shuffled around or waiting on hold.

Using a comprehensive customer service platform that consolidates all of your support efforts into one empowers agents by simplifying case management. You also get a unified overview of how your support efforts shake out so you can make critical decisions about where to focus energy. Robust analytics are priceless when scaling customer support. 

Ready to scale customer support?

Today, customers expect to be able to contact brands on multiple channels; including social media, web chat and other messaging platforms. Making customer service accessible across all these channels enables your customers to contact you in the ways that work for them. Automation allows you to scale customer support exponentially and leverage human staff intelligently. 

If you’d like to learn more about customer service automation and scaling customer support, request an advance copy of Helpshift’s State of Customer Service Automation Report.

Published August 30, 2019
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