Customer care can make a difference in businesses of all sizes—enabling them to not just weather a testing economic storm but grow their revenue. According to McKinsey’s 2022 State of Customer Care Survey, the top three priorities of companies are:
Retaining and developing the best people
Driving a simplified customer experience (CX) while reducing call volumes and costs
Building their digital care and advanced analytics ecosystems
What can help companies achieve all three is a proper support team development process.
The Importance of Support Team Development
Development is crucial to keeping a support team performing to your (and their) high standards—ensuring that they grow within their role and don’t suffer from feeling like work is an endless churn. By establishing a uniform way of developing your team, you also have the right data for measuring their performance, making it far easier to outline improvement and form benchmarks.
This is why Aircall has put together not one but two support skills templates. One is focused on assessment, and another is focused on development, and you can download them both here. First though, let’s dive into the best ways to use what are must-haves for any support team leader focused on long-term quality and success.
What a Support Skills Assessment Process Looks Like
Templates are a fundamental way of organizing development and retaining accurate records of your reps’ progress—for them and for your business. But as with all data, it will underperform unless properly documented and aligned to what you want to know and how you want to grow.
With this in mind, below is Aircall’s recommendation on how to use our templates, and any other assets at your disposal, to take the skill sets of your support team to the next level.
Step one: Gather and analyze data for assessment
Before you jump into developing your support team, you first need to know what you’re working with. This comes down to skill sets, attitudes, and ambitions. A great place to start is pulling the below performance metrics on your support reps' performance from your call analytics dashboard or similar:
Average resolution time
Average response time
First contact resolution rate
Customer churn/retention rate
Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) / Net promoter score (NPS)
Assure your employee that this isn’t a numbers game though. While these figures can help identify where their time is spent and what potentially needs some attention, their personal talents, circumstances, and aims are all part of the same story.
Step two: Assess the data with your support rep
Analyzing these metrics can tell you a number of things about your rep. But what they won’t reveal are the areas where they want to improve. When assessing your reps, acknowledge the person sitting on the other side of the table and that this is a two-way process.
Don’t look at numbers in isolation, and if, when analyzing the data yourself, a figure such as average response time seems low, then consider asking one of the following questions to get more context:
What would you see as the ideal response time?
What do you think is behind a lower-than-average response time?
Do you feel empowered to bring down your average response time?
How can your tech stack help you improve your average response time?
Step three: Assess key skills with your support rep
Now that you’ve identified the areas that need improvement, it’s time to focus on the key skills that can make this possible. Whether it’s reducing customer churn or driving up the number of customer conversations your support rep has, these come down to how they can perform skills such as problem-solving and time management.
Alongside your rep, your support team manager should use Aircall’s Support Skills Assessment Template to score the following out of 10:
From here, you should have a clear idea of which key skills require improvement—and you’ll likely find that these are the ones that can address the underperforming metrics from step one. You can also add more that are specific to their roles and your business.
From here, it’s time to identify up to three skills that both the support rep and their manager believe are the areas most in need of improvement.
But first, a quick note on those overachievers: It could be that your rep is knocking it out of the park on every skill. If this is the case, then look to involve them in coaching. They might jump at the chance to take on these responsibilities or they might want to focus on themselves for now. Whatever the case, ensure your tech stack is equipped with tools such as call and voicemail transcriptions, call whispering, and warm transfers so that their performance extends beyond their own calls.
Another consideration is working with them to identify areas of interest they want to explore next. This could be a high-risk, high-effort stretch goal; an entirely new skill they want to learn; or even a new software or tool they want to master. When it comes to development, your work is rarely over. So ensure you’re identifying all available opportunities and make it clear to your rep how much is on the table.
What a Support Skills Development Process Looks Like
All the above up-front planning and discussion around your support rep skill sets is fundamental to the success of this crucial next step—development. Once you’ve signaled to your team that you plan to invest in their development, it’s also critical that you see it through.
Fear not—Aircall has you covered. In our downloadable Support Skills Development Template, you’ll be able to outline the development of your support reps. Split into four steps, our template encourages steady and informed progress so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by KPIs that seem too far out of reach.
When filling out this template, bear in mind that you should:
Lead the conversation and set ambitious goals for your support rep
Listen to them, and if they feel a target is unrealistic, ask them why and invite them to suggest a new performance marker
Don’t just make this about them—find out what they need from others and from the business, like new technology or training
Communicate that you are free to talk to them about this plan outside of the agreed-upon timeline and steps
Developing Your People to Develop Your Business
Talent retention is a major challenge for support teams everywhere. This is why it’s so important for you and your business to do everything you can to retain your team. A crucial part of this is development—catering to appetites and ambitions in your business and empowering individuals to work in the best ways that suit them.
The advice and template included here are major steps you can take toward developing your support team and scaling your business in the process.
Published on June 14, 2023.