In a company’s early days, a nascent support team’s ability to practice empathy and provide personalized customer service plays a crucial role in building a foundation for future growth. But what happens when success comes knocking? Whether it’s a ballooning customer base or pulling the trigger on that long-planned-for push toward global operations, many businesses grapple with a perplexing problem: how can a customer service team maintain that personal touch as it scales?
As far as problems go, it’s a pretty great one to have. And by focusing on culture, process, and tools, companies can ensure that they keep their most valuable assets front and center: customers.
Culture and process
While identifying empathy as a key skill during the hiring process remains essential, there’s ample evidence that it can be taught and reinforced. By establishing in-depth trainings on empathy and personalization that are not one-offs, companies can create and maintain cultures that can drive great service. And with the rise of AI, agents will increasingly have more time for the kind of white glove work that’s fueled by empathy and personalization.
Yet emphasizing empathy is just the start—as a customer service team scales, it needs a feedback loop between onboarding, training, and QA that will help fine-tune the process by identifying what works and what doesn’t. This enables team leaders to accurately gauge how agents are performing and provide coaching that will help employees do a better job of actively listening to and supporting customers. The process will also yield road-tested data that will help improve both onboarding and recurring trainings.
Meanwhile, build a quality framework that spells out what good service looks like but that gives agents the freedom to act personally and authentically with customers. That ensures that agents are empowered to act as they see fit, yet it also enables team leaders to supervise interactions in order to teach soft skills and keep the brand voice consistent.
The right tools for the job
Companies that understand the value of treating customers with empathy need the ability to understand exactly who their customers are in the moment—and that means having a centralized customer profile. That profile will give customer service agents full context of how customers relate to their business by capturing non-support related attributes from both internal and third-party profiles.
This is especially critical for customers who engage with companies across multiple brands, apps, and channels, since customers sometimes represent themselves differently on each platform. Combining all those critical details into a consolidated profile paints a fuller picture of who the real person is on the other end of the line.
It’s also essential to have the ability to define and capture custom events across web and mobile apps. This can help inform agents about past customer behavior and spur proactive support, which will show customers that you’re paying attention to their experience, whether it’s in-store check-ins, shopping cart activity, email opens, order lifecycle activity, plan/software upgrades, or sales cycles. In addition, teams that create custom objects in the support system for things like subscriptions, products, and orders will have even more context about how customers interact with products and services.
By combining these tools with focused, thoughtful training and a clear definition of what quality customer service looks like, businesses that face the challenges of growth will not only maintain the level of service customers expect—they’ll exceed it.