Building a Customer Support Team: The 5 Key Roles Every Company Needs
Did you know that after a bad customer service experience, 39% of customers will avoid a company for two years?
And that 40% of consumers will tell others to avoid a company if they have had poor customer service from them?
On the flip side, 7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service, according to an American Express survey.
That’s why you can’t afford having mediocre customer support.
Great customer support involves more than call center reps or an employee replying to chat and email messages - it requires a well-trained team of support professionals.
Read on to find out the essential roles every company needs to build an awesome customer support team.
#1 - Great Reps
Customer Support Reps have a wide range of responsibilities, including:
- Addressing customer needs and pain points
- Responding to customer questions via online chat and email
- Resolving customer queries via phone calls
- Understanding clients’ needs and requirements
- Using a CRM to input and analyze customer feedback and pain points
- Reporting customer feedback analysis to Customer Support Managers and clients
Some years ago I was involved with a company in Texas, who regularly hired Spanish-speaking people to translate educational materials. However, when reviewing the materials, they were full of grammatical and syntax errors. The reason is that the fact that someone speaks Spanish doesn’t mean they can write professionally.
It’s the same for customer support as it’s not enough to be able to answer the phone and read from a script. A great customer support rep has a special mix of soft skills like empathy, patience, problem-solving skills, listening, clear communication, friendliness, time management and more.
Additionally, they must be knowledgeable on your product or service so they can understand the problems your customers might be facing. If the rep doesn’t deeply know how the product works, there’s no way they can understand the customer’s frustrations and handle their request promptly. They’d have to redirect the customer to someone else, adding to the frustration and creating a situation where business might be lost.
Finally, let me mention one more trait of a great rep: passion for helping people. More often than not, customer service rep is an entry-level temporary position and people are not passionate about nor looking to a life-long career in customer service. That lack of passion will reflect on the way they treat your customers. So look to hire passionate reps who love helping people.
A few of the above are character traits, but most are learnable skills, which takes us to the next role for your team.
#2 - Expert Trainer
The next key role in your team is the Customer Support Trainer, who’ll set up the reps with tools for success and undergoes in-depth training and role plays with them before they interact with customers.
A great Customer Support Trainer has been a great rep before. They’ve done the work and know the ins and outs, the daily challenges and rewards of the job. Not only that, but they mastered the craft of customer service through experience and continuous learning.
They must also have superb teaching skills and be natural motivators for the team.
The training process should include milestones and indicators to track the progress as well as awards and recognition for the progress.
Some of the things a trainer would go through with the team are:
- Best practices for each of the customer support channels being used (phone, chat, email, etc.)
- How to handle difficult customers
- CRM training
- How to develop people skills
- Specific training on the product or service
Your company should have a structured onboarding process and a mentorship program for new hires if your aim is to have a world-class customer support team — and an expert trainer will help you get there.
#3 - Brilliant Manager
Well-trained reps need a brilliant manager to guide them.
Your team needs a Customer Support Manager to manage the performance of the team. In other words, to ensure KPIs are met, such as ticket volume, average response time, average resolution time, net promoter score (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT).
For instance, the manager checks that reps handle cases appropriately and steps in when necessary — even if it requires working with customers directly.
The Customer Support Manager manages the daily activities of the team and provides support to improve the processes and the infrastructure of the customer support department.
Needless to say, the manager should have previous experience as a Customer Support Rep themselves and understand the difference between customer support and customer success to take the team to a higher level.
#4 - Watchful Quality Analyst
A Quality Assurance Analyst (or QA for short) makes sure processes are being followed, and continuously monitors the tone and effectiveness of resolutions on calls, grammar on emails and best practices on other channels such as chat and social media.
Because they were also reps at one time, they know what’s needed to handle customer issues successfully. With this knowledge the QAs develop assessment programs for the customer support team.
Their main role is to monitor calls. The QA will evaluate how the reps are responding to customers, what tactics are they using and how effective they are; they’ll assess the flow of the conversations and how the customers respond to the solutions presented by the reps.
They use these and other data to identify risks and problems and propose solutions, as well as recommend training programs to strengthen weaknesses in the team and implement strategies to upgrade existing processes.
Without a watchful quality analyst in your team you may have serious flaws in your customer support processes and never find out. That’s why they’re a key role for your team.
#5 - Smart Recruiter
Recruiters are in charge of finding the best talent to join your customer support team.
They will design and implement an overall recruiting strategy, developing job descriptions and specifications, and performing job and task analysis to document requirements and objectives. Additionally, they will:
- Prepare recruitment materials and post jobs to appropriate job boards and networks
- Source and recruit candidates by using databases, social media and other tools
- Screen candidate resumes and job applications
- Conduct interviews using various reliable recruiting and selection tools to qualify candidates
- Assess applicants’ relevant knowledge, skills, experience and aptitudes
Seek smart, experienced recruiters with the ability to conduct different types of interviews (structured, competency-based, stress), and familiar with various selection processes (phone interviewing, reference check).
Recruiters must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and be passionate about your company, so they can effectively communicate to candidates the benefits of working for your organization.
Support Your Support Team
Everyone in your company is part of the same team, so even those outside of the customer support department are needed.
See how people in you internal team can support the customer service team. They can do most of the work, but they still need some additional support.
Looking at new possibilities?