Customer experience is one of the most important differentiators among brands — a positive customer experience helps brands stand out in a crowded marketplace. A study by Forrester in 2021 revealed that companies that delivered ease for customers and emotionally oriented service saw a marked increase in their customer service index score.
Building a customer service team that provides an exceptional experience for customers is crucial in contact centers and support departments. Investing in the best employees, the best technologies, and the best training techniques will help you establish a customer service organizational structure that boosts customer retention.
But how should you structure your contact center team for success? Explore how to build customer service teams that stand above the rest:
1. Define Your Service Team Roles
An ideal first step to take when evaluating and building an ideal customer support team structure is to understand each customer service team role in depth.
Knowing which service team roles matter and why can help you put the right people in the right place. Explore the key positions, their key responsibilities, and areas of impact:
Contact Center Agent/Advisor
Contact center agents (also called contact center advisors) are your frontline professionals. They’ll spend the majority of their time engaging with customers on one or more channels (including email, chat, SMS, and phone). It’s their job to lead an engaging interaction, diagnose issues, find a solution, and leave customers so satisfied that they’ll stay loyal to the brand.
They should have a variety of skills, including strong communication abilities, good listening acumen, and an unwavering ability to sympathize with and empathize with callers. They must understand how important quality service is and why their position is such an important conduit between the customer and the company.
The team leader is responsible for overseeing a specific group of agents within the contact center, making sure they’re hitting targets and performing to a certain standard, and keeping them motivated. They may need to speak to customers from time to time, especially in particularly challenging cases. Generally, their role consists of managerial tasks and bringing their own experience as an agent to help improve the customer support team structure.
A supervisor’s duties are similar to those of a team leader, though they may have a tighter connection to management than other customer service team roles.
Supervisors may be required to interact with customers if they are resolving complaints, or if an apology is needed from someone higher up in the leadership. Accountability is key in this role, and the supervisor is a crucial part of the customer service organizational structure.
Coach / Trainer
A contact center or business may hire someone to act as a coach or trainer to customer service teams, though these duties could also belong to a member of the HR team. Coaching and training are essential to help agents improve their performance and develop new skills for better service.
They may work alongside QA analysts to devise programs that address issues or knowledge gaps, which can be detected during ongoing quality assurance. Software that offers closed-loop coaching and progress tracking can also be an important part of your team structure.
2. Create Sub-Teams With Different Specialties
Implementing sub-teams with different areas of expertise gives even more structure to your customer service team. For example, you may have agents in place to be the first point of contact between customers and the company. They will answer calls and start live chats, taking the individual’s details and learning about their issue.
They will either have the knowledge and resources to solve the problem themselves, or they may need to pass the customer on to a colleague with specialist training. This is particularly instrumental for companies in the technology industry, where interactions may touch on extremely complex areas.
There should be enough specialist agents available to accommodate the volume of incoming queries, though. Having just two or three to handle hundreds of potential issues can cause a backlog. Workforce management can help ease any overload by helping you make sure you have the right agents working in the right places at all times.
Identify the main types of queries you tend to receive first. It may be more practical to equip all agents with the same degree of knowledge of products or services to avoid long queues. If callers are to be handed over to another agent, this process must be precise. Being bounced from one agent to the next will only alienate and frustrate customers.
3. Establish A Clear Hierarchy
You must establish a clear hierarchy when building your customer service team organizational structure. Strong leaders need to be in place to create and maintain vision, make decisions, and make certain that agents are pulling their weight.
This is why appointing multiple team leaders and managers is such an effective model, though the size of your customer service team will dictate how many you need. If it’s a small group of eight or so, one team leader and manager would likely be sufficient.
For 10 or more, operating two customer service teams with their own leaders would help everyone stay organized. For much larger teams, ensure there’s a more intricate chain of command when planning customer service team roles.
4. Bring On QA Analysts To Drive Growth
No matter how skilled your support agents are, mistakes and oversights are inevitable. We’re all only human, after all.
However, repeating said errors will only lead to dissatisfied customers and churn. That’s why quality assurance is so important to keep improving the quality of your service.
Hiring quality management analysts to work with your customer service team means you’ll always have a system in place to keep driving growth. Call monitoring lets analysts identify flaws in service and come up with effective training to fix them. Coaching sessions will keep staff motivated and inspired to achieve their best.
Good QA software puts all the core data that analysts require at their fingertips, so they can pull up historical data and track progression with minimal effort.
5. Use An Omnichannel Structure For Customer Interactions
Your customer service agents should have access to and be trained to use multiple communication channels. The majority of customers expect real-time support on their preferred channels, including live chat, email, SMS, and phone.
An omnichannel strategy is convenient for customers and ensures they can find assistance via the platform most suitable for them. When building a customer service team organizational structure, you may want to segment staff across different channels (some on live chat, some on phone, some on social media, etc.) or train everyone to be proficient in all.
However, you must factor data into this decision: assign more agents to the most active channel and fewer to the least.
Building a customer service team structure takes time, effort, and planning. You can’t expect them to hit the ground running. Leverage quality management to evaluate performance and keep improving it across months and years. Request a demo from Playvox to learn more about how technology can help.
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