What makes a good customer support team? Positive customer experience, quick response time, teamwork, a shared vision for the future, achieving the organization’s goals and targets, and the right mix of consistency and agility.

Simply put, the foundation of great customer service is building relationships and being comfortable using customer support tools.

A good customer support team dedicates itself to addressing clients’ problems and helping them achieve their goals. To do this, you need team members with soft skills: communication, listening skills, and emotional intelligence.

And to make sure you build a support team that delivers on all these fronts, you need to build it from the ground up with a concrete strategy in place.

This guide will share six simple steps to help you build a strong customer support team from scratch.

Are you ready to learn more?

Let’s dive in.

1. Understand Your Company Culture

The definition of excellent customer support differs for each business.

For a SaaS business offering a productivity tool, it could be 24/7 chat support and quick resolutions to improve the customer experience.

For an eCommerce business selling skincare products, quick delivery, regular updates, and a flexible return policy take priority.

These variations indicate why you must define the “what” behind your customer support. In other words, your support team should align with and reflect your company values in their interactions with customers.

For example, if your company values transparency and honesty, your support team should be open and honest with customers when resolving issues.

To break it down even further, ask yourself questions like:

  • How does customer service align with your company values? It should align with your mission and employee value proposition.
  • What customer expectations do you need to meet? Quick response, clear communication, on-time resolution, and speedy delivery.
  • What does ‌the competition offer? Check the gap between your customer experience and your competitors’ customer experience.
  • What are your legal obligations? Check if service level regulations apply to your industry.

Once you have defined the “what,” help your leadership team understand what metrics matter and where you expect improvements by building your customer support team that aligns with your company culture.

2. Identify Your Support Team Structure

The next step is to decide on the structure of your support team.

Are you looking to build a support team to help customers via a live chat feature 24 hours a day? Or are you planning to start an entirely new team within your organization to sit under the direction and support of the Vice President of Customer Success?

Knowing the answers to some of these questions will help you determine the number of team members you need to hire, their specific roles, and how to properly outline the responsibilities for each position.

And as the saying goes, it’s better to measure twice and cut once. The last thing you want is to hire too many people up front and then resort to reducing headcount when the budget gets tight.

This problem led to the infamous 2022 news headlines, with the technology sector engaging in massive layoffs to control over-hiring during the COVID pandemic.

Don’t fall into this trap. Planning is the key to a successful outcome.

3. Decide on the Skills You Need

To provide excellent customer support you need a team with diverse skills, including technical expertise, strong communication skills, and problem-solving abilities.

Take a moment to consider the types of issues that your customers may encounter with your product or service.

Let’s take a look at two examples.

Example 1:

A truck owner is looking for specific truck rims that’ll fit his 2018 Ford 150 truck with a 3-inch lift kit. He sends an email for a custom recommendation and quote on which products to buy.

Your customer support team should have excellent written communication skills since most inquiries come over email. Also, every member should have 1–3 years of experience in mechanics or truck maintenance.

One wrong recommendation could cause a safety issue or result in low conversion rates, lowering customer satisfaction, impacting your reputation, and adding a potential lawsuit to your already busy plate.

Example 2:

Customers purchasing a web application firewall might run into installation problems, making them more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks from bad actors (the things they are trying to prevent).

Your customer support team should have an understanding of cybersecurity. A prior experience in the cybersecurity industry with good communication skills is also going to help when it comes to walking customers through a step-by-step installation process.

They must be skilled enough to explain the most complex issues to a 6th-grade reading level and get the installation done quickly to avoid exposure.

If you are still seeking more clarity on what skills you need to hire, here are some simple questions you should ask yourself before making any decisions:

  • What is the ideal support team personality? Are they empathetic or resourceful communicators?
  • What skills should your support professional have? Do they need technical skills, licenses, or software knowledge? Do they need swift skills like thoughtful communication, strong organizational skills, and the ability to stay calm under pressure?

4. Set Up Structures, Policies, and Systems

Once you clearly understand your team structure and the skills you need, it’s time to set up the systems and processes to support your team.

This step may include setting up ticketing systems, establishing policies for handling customer inquiries, and implementing training programs for new team members.

According to a 2022 CX Trends Report by Zendesk, ticket volume has increased across all channels. Customer support teams are more important than ever.

And with so much on the line, support teams will likely feel the pressure to deliver the best customer experience. However, they might fail to do it without the right tools.

In the first few weeks after hiring a support team member, you’ll need to educate them about your company and service approach. You’ll need to show them the products, tools, and technologies they can use in their daily workflow.

So, make sure to streamline your support workflow. Here’s a list of tools you might need to provide for your team members:

  • Helpdesk software: A tool that lets your support team centralize all your incoming tickets and requests in one place. E.g., Jira Service Desk.
  • Live chat software: A messaging tool that allows your customers to interact with you in real-time on your website. E.g., Hubspot Live Chat.
  • AI-powered tools: These tools help you improve the tone and style of your support team to communicate well with clients. GPT 3 tools are all the rage as of late. E.g., Copy.ai.
  • Call center software: A tool that handles all the incoming and outgoing customer calls. E.g., Dialpad, Salesmate.
  • Shared team inbox: A tool that provides you with an email inbox for the whole support team where they can easily access, collaborate and respond to incoming messages instantly. E.g., Front.
  • Project management software: A workflow software tool that lets you manage your team’s project tasks. It gives you a comprehensive overview of dependencies through interactive data visualization resources. It also allows you to check the project’s progress using different project views like the table and Gantt chart view. E.g., Pipefy or Smartsheet.
  • Knowledge Base: A tool to create documents such as FAQs and guides for customers to search for answers without talking to a support team member. E.g., Document 360.
  • Social media management tool: A tool that lets you manage social media and respond to incoming support requests from social media. E.g., Hootsuite.
  • Real-time metrics dashboard: This tool lets you pull together essential metrics in a single easy-view dashboard and helps your customer support team analyze their performance and support status. E.g., Freshdesk.

5. Hire People Who ‘Get’ Customer Support

Hiring team members passionate about customer support and understanding the importance of building positive customer relationships is the secret sauce to a successful support team.

Look for candidates with a track record of providing excellent customer service and skilled at building rapport with clients.

If this sounds like a daunting task to you, don’t fret. It’s easier than it sounds.

All you need to do is write up a job posting with your requirements for the position and publish them on recruitment websites like Indeed and/or Salarship.

These recruitment sites help you reach thousands of qualified applicants at the click of a button. No heavy lifting is required.

But the key to increasing click-through rates is writing a compelling job description. If writing isn’t your strong suit, you can always leverage resources like Writing Tips to help get you up to speed on the latest industry jargon.

6. Manage Their Performance

Once you have your team in place, it’s crucial to manage their performance to ensure they are meeting the needs of your customers and your business.

Start by setting performance goals, providing regular feedback, and offering ongoing training and support.

Compensation is another factor to keep in mind. Why? Because making sure your customer support team is happy will improve productivity and output.

With the numerous high-paying customer support jobs available today, you should consider performance-based bonuses to keep your top performers engaged and avoid “quiet quitting” (which continues to plague the workforce).

You want to give them a reason to stick around. You’ll be surprised at how far an employee-of-the-month bonus goes, even if it’s a $25 Starbucks gift card.

Build a Support Team that Delivers

To ensure you build a customer support team that stands the test of time — knowing the technical skills and nurturing customer relationships — identify your company’s definition of great customer support and align it with your company culture.

With these six simple steps at the forefront of your strategy, you can create a customer support team that provides excellent service, builds positive customer relationships, and helps your business reach new heights.

Never underestimate the value of a strong support team — your investment in building one will pay off in customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Happy hiring!

About the author

Jeremy is co-founder & CEO at uSERP, a digital PR and SEO agency working with brands like Monday, ActiveCampaign, Hotjar, and more. He also buys and builds SaaS companies like Wordable.io and writes for publications like Entrepreneur and Search Engine Journal.

Author Bio

Jeremy is co-founder & CEO at uSERP, a digital PR and SEO agency working with brands like Monday, ActiveCampaign, Hotjar, and more. He also buys and builds SaaS companies like Wordable.io and writes for publications like Entrepreneur and Search Engine Journal.

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