Who told you that you had to do it all? They lied! Growing and scaling customer experience is a team effort if you’re trying to really get the job done. This article will fall flat on the 5 person team, with 100 contacts a week… this is for the team of 15 or more, handling thousands of contacts per week.
I’m going to use a few scenarios to tell a story that will help to drive home these recommendations based on real life experiences I’ve had.
Managing the day to day
I joined a startup and was asked to grow the team to 30 within 30 days with no middle management. I should’ve left then, but I didn’t and now I have a story to tell and a few gray hairs to show for it, and I’m recovering from the cystic acne thanks to the therapy sessions, so we’re good now!
There was a core team already in place. Each of them learning different ways to work, based on their best judgement. I did get the team to 30… but I couldn't do anything else… Everyone knew me as their direct manager and all escalations came to… me. I immediately drowned myself in the day to day and getting out of it was a nightmare.
Knowing that 30 people was the goal, I should’ve immediately placed leaders to help with interviewing and managing the day to day so that I could focus on my other responsibilities. In this case, you have two options: Team Lead or Supervisor.
These roles will have supported the team on a daily basis fielding escalations, providing attention and career development to the front line and maintaining coverage by channels to reach our service levels.
Teaching people to do the work
Soon the 30 needed to triple based on our volume. We were looking to on board upwards of 20 people per week. Fortunately, I placed Team Leads (none of which had formal training, because it really didn’t exist), and a couple of managers. Okay, cool!
When you have 30 people who learned the work 6 possible different ways (side by side training), things get out of hand… fast. I needed help not only building the training, but actually facilitating the training. Being in hyper growth mode didn’t allow me to hire from within, I needed expertise right away. So I brought in a Customer Service Training Manager, who also created, and facilitated the training (I’m surprised we’re still friends).
Are we performing well?
So here we are rapidly growing, and I’m now thinking about how the team is performing. We were using Zendesk, but the reports didn’t tell the story I was used to hearing. I had no capacity to also handle the reporting and though I have a background in workforce management, I just didn’t have the time.
So I hired a Workforce Manager. Now, this is one role that can be its own universe depending on the size of your contact center, but we were considered fairly small. You may think that a Scheduling Manager is all you'll need, but the Workforce Manager has to get the capacity needs to the scheduler, so I went for the bigger role.
Are we doing all we can to retain customers?
Now that things were really moving, we had so many people, all at various stages of learning, that we needed to make sure we were actually delivering the experience we thought we were. We ended up asking leads to fill in as Quality Assurance Analysts to review customer contacts for consistency and accuracy. Eventually, that role separated and became its own team… But that came with its own set of a-ha moments and we now recommend working with a 3rd party instead, but at this time it worked for us.
If you’re scaling CX, don’t feel bad for feeling overwhelmed. The work was never intended to be done by one person, it really takes a team.