Best Practices for Growing Your Customer Support Team
These days, there are a number of ways for customers to get the answers they need without direct interaction with an agent, including knowledge bases, community forums, and AI-powered virtual assistants. To add a personal touch, or when virtual tools do not result in a resolution, companies must still provide the option for customers to talk to a human.
Companies need to know what their staffing needs are at any given time or season to effectively manage support demand. Overstaffing can be costly, but not hiring enough agents can cause customer satisfaction ratings to drop and can chip away at a company’s reputation. Here is some expert advice on how to find the “sweet spot” between overstaffing and understaffing your customer support team, and what skill sets you’ll need to look for to scale your team effectively.
FIrst, it’s important to understand how to allocate your team to handle questions with different levels of complexity.
Level 1 customer support consists of staff who have a foundational knowledge of products and services. Generally speaking, roughly 50% of your staff can be allocated to level 1 support, taking on anywhere from 15 to 40 low-complexity cases per day.
Level 2 customer support staff are of senior level and have a more intricate knowledge of the product. Roughly 40% of your staff should be assigned to work on 5 to 25 cases of medium complexity per day.
The remainder of your support agents should be assigned to Level 3—the smallest segment with the greatest amount of expertise. This elite group of customer support staff is available to assist with the most challenging issues facing customers. Because this group handles the most difficult cases, they should only be expected to handle 2 to 8 cases per day.
Adding Expertise to Grow Your Team's Potential
One way companies can save money and avoid hiring too many agents is to adopt and optimize tools that prevent or deflect support requests. Self-help and automation support tools require the creation of new content, system design, and administration, as well as various levels of community moderation support. You may be able to train internally for these new leadership roles or bring in new talent.
These new roles may require 5% to 15% of total support staff. While these roles are not directly involved with resolving customer issues, their efforts can be scaled to the benefit of the entire company.
Consider some of these new roles in customer support team leadership:
Content Author: write new knowledge base content
Curriculum Designer: create training curriculum and materials for self-paced and instructor led training
Editor: ensure that the content is consistent in style, grammar, accuracy, and formatting
Knowledge Engineers: lead the design, functionality, and effectiveness of all knowledge content
Usability Designers: lead the overall usability of all support systems
Systems Administrator: lead the maintenance, security, and performance of support systems and infrastructure
Developer: lead the creating programmatic changes to support systems
Data Analyst: provide data analytics, reporting, and ongoing performance assessment to drive optimization of support processes and systems
Maximizing Customer Service Output and Outcomes
There is a ton of opportunity when it comes to increasing customer support capacity. While automation is becoming more prevalent, it doesn’t rid companies of the need for human support entirely. In fact, companies will need better customer support leadership to handle more challenging support cases and manage new technologies.
If your company is ready to do more with your customer support capacity, then it’s time to upgrade your customer support technology. TeamSupport is ready to answer your questions concerning what you need today and moving into the future.