Scaling up revenue and your advertising engine is fun. You can see sales stock up and get excited about how fast things are growing.
But hitting a wall due to bottlenecks on your customer service team comes next, and it’s incredibly frustrating to have to throttle sales while customer service catches up.
You can make your life easier as a CEO when it comes to customer service by getting just a few key things in place. The end result is having your customer service operations scale as a function of revenue growth, with the ability to predict bottlenecks to deal with before they become a problem.
We run 24/7 live chat and customer service teams for hundreds of stores and have been helping a lot of stores scale due to the Covid bump in 2020. In this post, I’ll share a few key factors that seem to bring peace of mind to the CEOs of our client companies when it comes to scaling pains.
Simple But Robust Customer Service KPI Structure
As CEOs, we often get to a point where we love to measure a ton of different things. There’s a lot you can measure in customer service, but it’s key to keep this part of the business simple so that you don’t get stuck in the weeds.
From what we’ve seen, it’s most important to measure and manage customer experience + team efficiency / capacity.
To measure customer experience, the metrics below give you what you need and are included in all industry standard help desks.
- First response time
- Resolution time
- Satisfaction rating
This gives you a comprehensive quantified view of how the customer feels about your customer service experience.
- The first response time ensures people know their ticket is being taken care of,
- the resolution time helps you identify if things are handled in a reasonable amount of time,
- and the satisfaction is a direct measurement of the customer telling you if things are good or bad.
It’s also important to measure efficiency and capacity you have internally on your team. This ultimately drives customer experience, but also helps to avoid bottlenecks as I’ll explain in a moment.
To measure your team’s efficiency and capacity, track the following:
- Tickets handled per day per agent
- Average handle time per ticket per agent
- Customer satisfaction per agent, the same metric as above.
This helps you have a handle on the overall capacity of your team, where room for improvement is, and ultimately ties back agent performance to customer satisfaction.
Capacity Tracking and Forecasting
Once you’re tracking the efficiency of your team, you have a good handle on the teams capacity. If you can predict the future growth in ticket volume, then you will have no problem having enough agents at that point.
Here’s where a lot of companies get confused. Rather than trying to simply predict the growth in tickets overtime, it’s much easier to benchmark ticket volume as a function of revenue or orders. Once you know that, you can forecast ticket volume pretty accurately based on revenue growth or decline in your forecast.
You can calculate where you’re at now just using revenue and ticket volume in a given month, and then start gauging the effect of efficiency improvements over time.
Effective CS Operations Management
Once you have solid KPI‘s in place, you can begin to focus on making the operations of the customer service department run really smoothly. Most of this is business 101, but it’s tough to make it happen without the above.
Here’s the basics of a well run customer service department that you, as a CEO, can be pretty hands off with.
- Have someone accountable to running the above process, such as reporting on KPI‘s and running department meetings. Even if you only have one or two agents, appoint one of them as a lead agent in charge of the above. That way it doesn’t fall on your plate.
- Use a weekly department meeting process to keep your finger on the pulse of how things are going and ensure problems are getting solved. Again, this is relatively basic but a simple review of the metrics weekly and time to make decisions together can significantly streamline the leadership bandwidth you need to devote to customer service.
- Build out a solid training and side-by-side process for new agents as you scale. By having the management process above in place and a solid training process, it becomes simple to scale customer service.
You can make your life as a CEO and scaling an e-commerce business much easier if you get these things in place before they become a problem. The worst thing in the world is having to throttle sales because you can’t keep up in customer service. Don’t let that happen.
Need some help with this? We run 24/7 live chat in customer service teams for hundreds of stores. Part of our strategy planning process with potential clients is to audit their customer service operation to find efficiencies. We do this at no cost and would be happy to have a chat with you about your operation.
Whether work with us or not, you’ll get a lot of insight from this process since we have done this with so many stores.
Jon Tucker is CEO of HelpFlow, a provider of 24/7 live chat and customer service teams for 100+ eCommerce stores. Launched in 2015, their team of agents has produced nearly $100M in chat revenue for a wide range of stores using a conversion-focused approach to live chat.
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