We’re going to say it loud and clear: Managing big customer service teams is challenging for EVERYONE.
But often we feel like we’re the only ones having to deal with reporting, hiring, training, and all the “fun” stuff.
So we decided to prove to you just how easy it is to overcome all potential customer service challenges if you just change your mindset.
Over the past few months, we’ve gathered our own best advice and talked to other managers to see how they face the rough waters without the expected stress.
This article explores their approach and how you can apply it too.
Top 5 challenges in customer service + solutions to face and prevent them
Challenge:You’re wasting a lot of time on manual tasks.
Solution: Automate Quality Assurance (QA) efforts and reporting as much as possible.
Generally speaking, automation helps you save time, maintain accurate data, and even lower your costs. When it comes to managing larger support teams, there’s two core automation types to consider:
- QA automation: Are you leveraging automated QA with your support teams? If not, are you still doing it all manually for each ticket? You could boost your service quality by as much as 11% within the first 3 months by simply automating the some steps of the process.
- Automated reporting: Automatic reporting lets you track individual agent performance, plan your team’s capacity, and better understand the data behind your metrics. Derek Danielewski, Customer Success Manager from The Retro Store, also turns to reporting automation.
Challenge: You have a lot of agents so it’s hard to keep up with everyone.
Solution: Prioritize one-on-ones and team communication.
We’d all love to speak to every agent regularly and do QA for each one of them. But sometimes team managers have so many people that it’s practically impossible to follow everyone’s performance.
To face this challenge, Olga Bondarenko, Customer Support Team Lead at Treedis, recommends putting your team first before all else.
Challenge: Delivering the level of service quality people expect.
Solution: Ensure continuous feedback and coaching.
When people reach out to your customer support agents, they usually want to get an immediate answer or solution. Sometimes they even expect the support team to do part of their work in their place.
The bigger your brand gets, the more prepared your support has to be to keep up with such demands. The fix is simple: You need to keep providing feedback to your agents AND make sure they’ve got concrete action items to better themselves.
A while back we talked to Heidi Elhawary, Head of User Support at Trivago, on the importance of motivating your support team to give their best and build a lasting career in the field.
One of the core ideas she supported was that merely giving your team feedback isn’t enough. To succeed, teach your agents to be empathetic, understanding, and beyond it all, great listeners. These are the three soft skills they should perfect if you want them to provide the best possible experience for your customers.
Improving the way you share feedback with your team and the follow-up items you provide has immense benefits. For instance, between 2021 and 2022, Capital.com’s number of Tickets Solved/hour increased by a whopping 22.99%. To achieve this growth, they implemented regular feedback and coaching sessions to upskill their remote team.
Challenge: Hiring the right people.
Solution: Write down the top skills and character traits you want your next agents to have. Prioritize hiring accordingly.
A “customer service heart”. That’s what Petra Hageman, former Head of Customer Service at Tripaneer, recommends you check for before all else when hiring new people. In other words, the support team members you hire should genuinely care about helping others and solving their problems with a smile.
Find out what a person’s true motivation is. Do they genuinely enjoy walking people through a solution to their problems? Or do they simply like listening to people and giving advice?
Knowing what drives each candidate will later help you welcome them to the right team or department. This way, you’ll know they’ll enjoy their work and actually deliver the best possible service.
Next steps: No room for compromise when it comes to candidates having the right attributes. So make a list of the must-have traits and skills you can’t give up on. That is everything that can influence the performance of your support team and the satisfaction of your customers [including the three soft skills we mentioned under the previous challenge].
Challenge: You’re still relying on spreadsheets for agent management.
Solution: Declutter your tech space by switching to an all-in-one tool.
Time to use fewer single-use or outdated apps and more multi-functional tools. Derek Danielewski, Customer Success Manager from The Retro Store, stands to support this.
Ditch Excel for a tool like Kaizo that lets you monitor your support team’s performance, offer coaching, and report on progress. Everything in one solution.
To keep an eye on how your agents are growing, try Scorecards. You’ll no longer have to copy metrics into a spreadsheet or manually update your Zendesk dashboards as the tool gives you an instant overview of your team’s performance in real-time. Without even leaving Zendesk.
So, what should you focus on first?
Start by listing down your current biggest challenges.
Is your current team’s performance not up to par with expectations? Are you short on agents? Are you finding it difficult to motivate or retain agents?
You need to prioritize based on which challenges are more likely to impact your overall business goals. E.g. Not having enough agents or hiring the wrong people will slow down your ability to solve tickets in real-time or whatever your baseline is.
You should then be able to plan accordingly and make a change. For instance, if your customers aren’t happy with the support service they’re getting, re-think the way you train your support team. Analyze their performance through Scorecards and create action items for them to develop their technical and soft skills alike.
Book a Kaizo demo to see how you can solve all of the above customer service challenges in one single tool.