As you gain more customers, you may think that you need more people to handle chats, answer phones and cover emails. This would result in your customer support team growing proportionally to your business.
It’s not a bad thing, but if you always follow the strategy of hiring whenever your business gets bigger, you will end up having an enormous team in a really small office. Your expenses will grow and your company’s culture will quickly have to change.
The question is, do you have to grow your team so fast?
I would say no. With a few smart moves, there’s a good chance you can delay the moment of hiring new team members. Yet, it doesn’t mean your team has to do twice the work.
The key here is to work smarter, not harder. You need to use existing resources to save agents’ time and make them feel more satisfied with their job. Read about my ideas.
Repeated questions that take the most out of your time
Most companies have a handful of recurring issues that are responsible for the big amount of incoming support requests.
Do you also get repeated questions from customers? If you do, analyze which questions take the most out of your support team’s time, and then - save this time.
Let’s say customers always ask:
- What's the price of…[a basic plan]?
- Do you ship to…[country]?
- Can I return my item? etc.
For those frequently repeated questions, at LiveChat you can create canned responses and shorten your response time.
Canned responses are previously prepared answers for the most common questions. You can type them once, save them and reuse them in chats and tickets whenever you need. You will save the time you always waste when you write the same thing all over again.
Is creating canned responses time hard?
Each LiveChat account comes with a set of sample responses. You can use them out of the box, tweak them or add your own. Then, if you want to use canned responses while chatting, you just type #canned_response (for example #pricing) and previously prepared messages will show up.
Read detailed guidelines about two ways of creating canned responses.
Invest time in building a knowledge base
Over the years, your product and website evolve. Your product has much more features and takes a little more time for customers to understand. So naturally, it generates more questions from customers.
If this is the case for your business, consider building a knowledge base where you answer the most popular questions. Self-help has proved to be one of the best ways to save the precious time of support agents. It decreases the number of repeatable questions and tickets.
Let’s say you have an online clothing shop, I assume that customers are curious about: the delivery price, delivery time, returns, where do you produce your items etc.
We also created LiveChat's knowledge base. Let me show you a few basic points of creating a knowledge base in a nutshell:
- Create simple articles answering basic questions related to your product (the ones that customers ask the most)
- Develop a style - the language you use, but also a consistent design – similar screenshots for each web page, and the same colour for links in each article.
- Stick to lists - make it simple and break down your text into shorter paragraphs and lists.
- Use screenshots - a picture is worth a thousand words and explains a product best.
- Chain articles together - at the end of your article recommend the ones that are related to the topic. It will make the flow easier for the readers. (przyklad od nas albo z KB facebooka)
- Offer a search option – As your knowledge base evolves, you can offer a search option to help customers find the articles quicker.
- Mind the keywords – Later on, you can take a look at which keywords are searched for the most and create articles about them.
- Update! – As your product and website change, make sure your knowledge base is always up to date.
You can now use our Knowledge Base app to build a public Help Center for your customers. The internal widget makes it easy to access your team’s know-how right in the LiveChat app.
Try to solve a case in one go
Another huge waste of time for customer support agents are unnecessary back-and-forth with customers. Unsolved cases are like time-consuming boomerangs. Customers come back, ask about the same thing and agents read the archives to recognize the case and finally solve it.
That’s why First Contact Resolution should be your goal.
First Contact Resolution means resolving a customer’s issue in a single interaction. It eliminates the need for customers to contact you again about the same thing.
It’s about solving the issue in a single response through email, in a single phone call, and in a single chat session.
You may worry that resolving a case will take you a long time. There’s no need for that.
As you can read in our new Customer Service Report 2018, companies with the happiest customers actually have the longest average handle times. Their cases take more time to handle but they are able to solve them in one touchpoint, and customers appreciate that.
How to measure first contact resolution:
Keep track of this metric and see how it changes week over week to get an idea of what is the level of first contact resolution in your customer service.
Read more about measuring and improving first contact resolution.
Use LiveChat effectively
Sometimes one agent can’t solve the issue. Simply because he or she doesn’t have an expertise or is a new team member.
Usually, people in the office talk to one another and help each other solve the cases. This is a good thing, as everyone can learn, but sometimes a case is so complicated it simply requires advanced skills.
When that’s the situation, the best an agent can do is to transfer that chat to the right person – for example a technical support agent. It takes a few seconds and suddenly a customer is under the wings of somebody who will soon become a hero for them.
Each ongoing chat can be supervised in real time by other agents. The more experienced employees can coach and train newbies. In addition, the supervisor can type suggestions to the agent, which are invisible to customers. It’s a much quicker way to provide help than talk to employees and then try to type the response in chat.
It solves a lot of time, and gives new agents confidence, as they have everything in writing and the whole room doesn’t hear about their unsolved issues.
An additional pair of hands that never gets tired
Another great new way to speed up your support agents' work is to try ChatBot. ChatBot is an app that allows you to create your own bot.
A bot can answer the most common and repeatable questions from customers. It gives you an extra pair of hands that never get tired. A bot can also fill out forms and take orders without assistance.
You can connect it with LiveChat but also with many other tools you use for customer service or internal communication, like Slack, Messenger, Skype, Twitter, YouTube and many more.
I know what you’re probably thinking.
How can I predict questions a customer will ask?
Well, the same as you predict them with canned responses. You will have a base of questions. And if a bot can’t answer something, it’s transferred to the real agent that takes it from there. But if there isn’t any agent on chat, a customer is informed about it with a special message.
There will also be another option available soon when a bot doesn’t understand a question: a possibility to create a ticket. And the communication will be even more smooth.
Good onboarding and teamwork
Things that you can work on from the very beginning that will save a lot of time in the future is a great onboarding. At the beginning, a lot of agents will have to learn the same things so you can prepare the guidelines that you can later reuse.
Basic guidelines you should preapre for new support agents?
- Basic and advanced knowledge about your product and company.
- A customer support style guide.
- Communication style guide you use - phrases you recommend and phrases agents should avoid.
Speed up your customer service
At some point, you will probably need to hire more people, to keep the smooth customer service in your company.
Before you do a revolution, try some solutions that will save you some time. See if you covered the most common questions in a knowledge base, how is your first contact resolution time and if you can improve it. Use LiveChat effectively, try new features that will speed up agents’ responses. And don’t be afraid to implement a bot that will answer repeatable questions.
It’s all in your hands!