In today’s climate, customers have more choice at their disposal than ever before and customer loyalty is indeed becoming increasingly difficult to earn and even harder to maintain. And while the move to online trading offers some great opportunities to tap into a global market, it’s becoming more and more difficult to stand out from the crowd.
A key differentiating factor for companies today is how they deliver the customer experience. And while some might call it a ‘buzz word’ it remains at the front of their business and has a direct impact on recurring business. Forrester research found that companies that take the lead in customer experience outperform others by nearly 80%, while Dimension Data found that 84% of companies who make efforts to improve their customer’s experience report an increase in overall revenue.
We all know it’s not simple – creating a great customer experience is a company wide effort. But a great place to start with the customer experience is customer support/customer service. If you’re able to scale your support function in a way that still puts the customer first, you have taken the first steps towards delivering a customer experience that will set you apart while also remaining efficient and agile.
In this blog post we’ll look at some ways that your organisation can scale customer support to increase efficiencies and maximise the value of your customer support function.
- Getting Organised – Prepare your Teams
When a support function grows too quickly, standards can sometimes slip and employees may feel overwhelmed by the changes – new content, new policies and new ways of doing things can sometimes get in the way of the day job.
- Employee Learning System:
Standardising onboarding and the continuous training of your employees is critical if you want to scale your customer service teams. Learning and training platforms when used correctly can offer a cost effective and efficient way of training and certifying employees on company practices, procedures and customer engagement programs which they’ll need to know to succeed in their customer service role. This maximises the value of your resources and reduces the need for one-to-one training which can be costly and time consuming.
- Internal Knowledge Base
Creating a robust internal knowledge base can save you time and resources as you scale. Rather than trying to distribute knowledge and resources across your organisation, try ensuring that your knowledge base is always up to date and that everyone knows how and when to use it. And remember, employees are users too – they should enjoy and feel confident using your systems – and can also provide valuable feedback on ways to improve it.
2. Understand Expectations – Lay The Framework
You can waste a lot of time if you haven’t nailed down exactly how your customers want and need to be supported. Interviewing customers and look-alike customers, and carrying out UX testing can help you identify the areas where a customer might get stuck on your website or meet a roadblock with your product or service – and also what questions they might have at different stages of their journey – pre-purchase, during purchase, and post purchase.
You might also find that different types of customers will need different levels of support – some might prefer a light touch – finding information themselves, while for others not having a human engagement might mean losing that sale or reducing the life-time value of the relationship.
During this research phase you’ll also be taking note of the questions customers have, using this to build out any future documents and resources. And also, importantly, as you work to understand your customer’s expectations, you’re also looking to understand their technology use. Which platforms are they using to perform which actions. This information will be critical as you decide how best to scale your programs.
From doing this work, you’ll also start to get a picture of what you might automate versus where you might invest in customer support personnel.
- Balance AI, Automation and Human Engagement
Just because a lot of business and customer interactions have moved online does not mean that human engagement is out the window. Data from Deloitte shows that the biggest returns can be made when AI and humans work side by side. This means understanding who your customers are, their needs, and building processes and logic into your system, ensuring you are capturing information at each step.
Some ways to use automation in customer support:
- Self Service Platform:
Offering a self-service platform, or an FAQ at a minimum can help you speed up a customer’s issue resolution by providing them with information that is easily accessible and helps them either achieve their goal or answers their question. It’s important to remember that no self service platform will be able to answer every customer’s question so consider building in a process that allows users to connect with a customer service rep during their search. This might mean having a ‘contact us’ button, or a prompt after a certain number of minutes which asks them ‘have you found what you’re looking for/ ‘can we be of help’?
- Email Automations and Standardised Responses:
You can build automation into email engagements too. This might look like an automated email series before and after a customer service engagement, or standard response emails which your teams use to save time when dealing with different types of requests/complaints. Small efforts like this can save you team’s time as your organisation scales its support function.
- Automate Routing and Urgency
AI and automation can support human engagement by automatically routing a request/question to the right team. Many customer support platforms have a built in AI feature which helps your employees know what type of request is coming. This might be based on ‘country’, ‘page url’, ‘product type’, or maybe ‘customer profile’.
It’s useful to automatically categorise incoming requests based on level of urgency too – you might do this through ‘keywords’ or ‘length of time on site’ or maybe you prefer to deal with ‘new customers’ vs ‘long time customer’ first.
- Embed AI to Create More Informed Engagements
Getting to know your customers can help you solve their questions and issues faster. But when you’re trying to scale, manually adding in information about every customer is not ideal. Collecting information, like how they pay, what they’ve bought, and any past interactions can not only save time but can also make those engagements more meaningful. Consider investing in tools which will support in collecting this information automatically and allow you to feed it to other systems too.
- Connect Your Tech To Maximise Efficiencies, Reduce Errors and Work Smarter
It’s great to get up and running quickly (we all want that), but skipping over important tasks can cost you in the long run. Remember, scalability works best when systems fit and work together – if there’s duck tape holding things together, the likelihood of them scaling is not so good. Ensuring your technology and data speak to each other and connect seamlessly is critical for scale. Do you have a centralised view of your customer data? And are you making that data available to your teams and embedded within the logic of your systems?
- Scaling Human Engagement with Intelligent Translation
As stated earlier, today’s businesses have the opportunity to tap into a bigger global market. But it’s important that as you scale, you’re taking into account the needs of customers from different regions. The 3rd edition of Can’t Read, Won’t Buy (CRWB) research by Common Sense Advisory (CSA) highlights that customer demands for local language websites and engagements remain high. 65% of customers say they prefer content in their language and 40% will not purchase in any other language other than their own.
If you want to scale to deliver the same level of perceived value to customers with different language preferences, you’ll need a strategy to get you there. At KantanMT, we recognise that every brand wants to communicate with customers in their native languages but doing this in a cost efficient and scalable manner is sometimes tricky to coordinate.
That’s why we developed KantanSkynet – a platform that enables organisations to deliver localised customer service – that’s available 24/7 using AI driven, crowdsourced translation services – it’s the power of technology coupled with the elegance of human assisted editing.
KantanSkynet integrates directly into customer service platforms enabling your customer service teams to communicate in any language and get up and running in no time. If you’re serious about competing on customer experience and customer service, make sure not to overlook translation as part of your strategy. The team at KantanMT are happy to help as you embarque on your journey.
Scaling customer support involves a commitment from all sides of the business to providing a great customer experience. It doesn’t start with tactics, it starts with building a foundation based on knowledge and understanding. But it doesn’t stop when you’re up and running – Salesforce Research explains that 73% of customers said an extraordinary experience from one company raises their expectations of experiences from other companies, so keeping on top of trends and benchmarking against industry leaders will be key to ensure you continue to deliver value to customers now and in the future.
We hope you’ve gained some good tips and insights from our post. Check out more posts on the blog or learn more about how we help customer deliver experience in multiple languages on our main site – kantanmt.com
KantanMT is part of the Keywords Studios Group, the largest provider of global services to the video games and media and entertainment industries. It has offices in over 50 locations and delivers services to 23 of the top 25 games companies.
KantanMT is based in the INVENT Building, DCU Campus, Dublin 9, Ireland.