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In this episode, Dorien outlines the playbook she developed scaling a support team from 0 to 70+ agents in just a year at Catawiki, which she now applies to great success at the blossoming florist scale-up: bloomon. Dorien offers actionable, thoughtful advice that’s useful to support staff at all levels tailor-made to allow support departments to scale with grace and speed.
Focus resources and don’t bite off more than you can chew
- Offering support in multiple channels and languages for many hours can spread a support department thin and cause strain on agents and customers alike.
- As such, the first step to scaling successfully is to take stock of current activities. Based on the ticket volumes and backlog in certain channels and times, scaling down or reshuffling schedules may be appropriate.
- It’s all about focusing resources to maximise service. If the service is suffering, change the setup to make sure that you satisfy customers without fail.
“It’s much better to only have two channels in which you can live up to your promises and offer people a great experience…from that perspective, I really believe less is more”
- Once a department has a handle on ticket volume, that’s the time to expand and service another channel or language, or increase opening hours. Being ambitious without having the proper infrastructure can really hurt a department!
Train quality after the chaos. Your agents with appreciate it
- The first step in Dorien’s playbook is really aimed at controlling, managing and reducing the chaos caused by a large backlog. After the chaos is under control, the next step is to focus on quality.
- Here, Dorien emphasises the importance of training agents in quality. It isn’t just about reviewing performance. It’s about creating a framework that the whole department can buy into; that also reflects the values of the business.
“At bloomon we apply 10 basic rules that we really believe in, that fit our brand and [these rules] guide the agents in their conversations”
- Of course, receiving feedback on mistakes is never our favourite thing but feeling as though your work matters is very important. In Dorien’s experience, being invested in the quality of an agent’s work and supporting them to do better is a big source of motivation for them.
“We really noticed that agents embrace it when you really focus [on training quality] and spend time on them because that’s basically what you’re doing”
Only automate after you’ve done the work manually
“You can only scope your requirements if you know what you’re talking about and you only know what you’re talking about when you’ve done the manual work.”
- Tools are great. They save us time, energy and can make manual tasks far easier. However, finding the right tool for the right job can be difficult. Especially when you have to take the word of salespeople and translate that to your department.
- Knowing the team and knowing the tool is essential if the two are to be married successfully. Knowing the tool is hard, that often comes down to trial and error. But knowing the team comes down to doing the work and taking a critical look at how it went.
- This is especially important in small, young teams- where the experience of doing things manually is very valuable and where spending extra dollars can sometimes go unchecked.