One of the best things about running a successful business is encountering the need to grow the company, expanding all of its departments and serving more and more demand from customers. The thrill of growth is the main reason many entrepreneurs do what they do.
However, when it comes to scaling customer support, there are a few things that should hold off your excitement. We’ve compiled this list of items to consider before going on a hiring spree.
Measure your readiness to scale
Naturally, the first thing to consider is whether it’s the right time to scale up. Measuring “readiness” is not quite so straightforward – often times you can’t afford to wait for the support workload to increase before you scale the operations. But you can still find leading indicators that will tell you when is the right time. For example, you can look at Month Over Month Growth in Sign-ups, Average # of Tickets Per Customer Per Month and plot that against the maximum capacity of your current support efforts to see when the break-even point will come.
Exhaust all self-service options
Before hiring support staff to increase your workload capacity, make sure some of your efforts go towards decreasing the number of tickets raised. In the long term it’s a lot cheaper to identify areas of your product or service that most frequently raise questions and simply provide answers to your users before they raise a ticket. This is usually done through help center knowledge bases and FAQ pages, but there are also smarter and more modern solutions such as AI-powered ticket deflection widgets.
Make the support process measurable end-to-end
Scaling your support operation in the most timely and intelligent way possible will require a lot of data about its performance, and on a very granular level. In order to know where issues arise, and which issues can be resolved with additional staff and which can be eliminated through a change in procedure or the introduction of smart tools, you will need advanced analytics. Make sure you measure KPIs that have an actionable impact, and don’t fall in the trap of “vanity metrics”.
Hire innovators that work smarter, not harder
Once it does come down to hiring and scaling your support team, make sure the people that enter your support operation are able to “future-proof” it. They will be the early adopters for new products and technology that empowers them to work smarter, faster and more efficiently. The more you reward smart work over hard work, the more lean your support department will become. The long term benefit of such a company culture lies not only in the fortune you will save, but also in the quality of service you will provide to your customers.
Look for the technology solution first
Finally it’s valuable to mention that every time you experience a problem in your operations, your first reaction should be to root-cause it and look for a technology solution. Throwing more staff at a broken system will not fix it, but is likely to also break your balance sheet and your entire business together with it.