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What does it mean to be “The Best”?
Is it a fact? An opinion?
For Aircall’s recent survey of 475 customer support leaders, it comes down to self-reflection.
“Overall, how would you rate the performance of your customer support team?”
Respondents chose from the following multiple-choice answers:
Best in the industry
Good but not yet great
Significant room for improvement
Just figuring out the fundamentals
But when we looked deeper into the “top performing” segment, it became clear that this ~31% were approaching support in a distinctive way.
To make things easy, this post will refer to two groups of responders: “The Best” and “Everyone Else.” We’ll focus on a few areas that suggest why The Best are able to provide superior customer support.
These data points can help support teams achieve the same level of confidence. After all, who among us wouldn’t want to breathe the sweet ether of success?
Communications are Clear and In-Control
Knowing your customers naturally leads to a better customer experience. The Best support teams get a full customer profile by offering multiple opportunities to connect.
Social media, email, online chat, and phone are all now considered routine ways to contact support. The companies that keep accurate and organized records of these interactions are poised to provide superior service.
However, a customer inquiry that starts in Facebook might continue over to email. Two weeks later, that same customer may choose to call-in.
Teams that don’t organize these conversations in a central location are at a disadvantage.
Luckily, The Best support teams revealed their secret to being everywhere, all the time.
CRM: Crisis Repelling Machine
CRM actually refers to Customer Relationship Management software, and it turns out, a whopping 70% of The Best customer support teams use one. That’s a 26%-point jump over Everyone Else.
For teams receiving a lot of incoming requests, using a CRM or helpdesk software that integrates with all major communication channels (ex. Salesforce, Zendesk, Intercom) will do the heavy lifting for you. If your platform of choice instantly pulls essential data from all conversations, your agents don’t need to worry about compiling it themselves.
Notes, messages, and data (such as call recordings) will automatically be added to a customer’s profile.
The next agent to communicate with a repeat customer will already have all vital information and be ready to assist.
There’s no substitute for an empathetic and energetic support team, but The Best know that the right tools make any job easier. Powerful communication hubs and integrated channels (phone, email, chat, etc.) are an investment that CX-focused companies are willing to make.
In fact, The Best teams ranked “Implementing new tools or technologies” as their number one objective to prioritize in 2018. They know that better tools facilitate complete conversations, faster resolutions, and more 5-star reviews.
New tech could mean laptops for employee mobility, headphones that reduce noise interference, or more convenient communication channels.
Prioritizing the Human Resources
When talking about customer support, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of experienced, empathetic, and adaptable employees.
“Amazing support agents will compensate for a terrible product.”- Unknown VP of Marketing circa 2016 A.D.
Okay, almost impossible. But if we look at The Best vs Everyone Else, there’s a significant difference in how they value support agent development.
Let’s talk about money
When asked which budget category will receive the most funding in 2018, The best teams were nearly three times more likely to name hiring-related initiatives the winner.
Furthermore, The Best teams are more likely to double down on this people-focused investment. In 2018, 37% of The Best teams will receive a hiring-budget-increase, compared to just 12% of Everyone Else.
Finding and hiring the best employees is top-of-mind for The Best teams, but that’s just the beginning of their commitment to their agents.
An education is a terrible thing to waste
Most support teams will agree on principle that a formal onboarding process is important, but do they agree in action?
The Best are almost guaranteed to provide new hires with a well-defined training track, with 90% of teams providing a formal onboarding process. This commitment to new hires is essential to agents’ confidence and product knowledge. It also builds a sense of camaraderie/cohesion between rookies and veterans.
Conversely, just three-quarters of Everyone Else will provide an official onboarding schedule.
The gap grows even larger, however, when asked if support agents receive training beyond their initial onboarding. Here, we observed a 25%-point differential between The Best and Everyone Else.
Products, team structures, and support tools change. To stay on top of these shifts and other industry trends, continued education is invaluable.
Confidence in Customer Support Metrics
Informed and organized conversations are great, but The Best also have a secret weapon that accelerates growth.
We’re talking about data.
Imagine looking back on 2017 and seeing everything from a bird’s eye view. Your CRM was integrated with your communication channels, and your well-trained agents used call tags to properly document inquiries.
Having this info is like using a cheat-sheet to plan your 2018 strategy. You’ll be able to staff seasonal spikes appropriately and create a team structure that solves the most common support cases with efficiency.
It comes as no surprise that The Best teams are using this type of precision to their advantage. A whopping 70% of The Best teams say they’re very confident in the accuracy of their customer support metrics. This stands in stark contrast to only 28% of Everyone Else who can say the same.
Precise analytics can streamline communications and resolution rates, as well as inform hiring decisions.
The truth, however, is more interconnected. Without communication tools with detailed analytics features and employees who are equipped to use them, your metrics won’t be a reliable decision-guiding tool.
The Best teams approach all these categories holistically. The first step requires prioritizing customer support as a vital part of overall business success.