There are multitude of reasons one may need to scale up their e-commerce customer service:
1. Because business is growing exponentially and the current team can't keep up with the expected service levels.
2. Because of international expansion, more languages are required.
3. Because of peak season - especially seasonal businesses that experience the majority of their trade in the summer/winter, etc.
4. Because you’ve decided to extend your customer service opening hours - evenings and weekends are peak times in e-commerce, however many businesses don’t have available CX agents during those times. This frustration and missed revenue is often the catalyst for scaling, i.e including a customer service evening timeslot.
In this article, we’re going to zoom in on the customer service side of things and explain some of the best hacks for scaling up in this way. From building a larger team to adopting a hybrid work ethic, here’s to CX growth in 2023.
1. Build a larger customer service team
As your business grows, you’re inevitably going to need more team members to keep the ship running as smoothly as it always has been. Because regardless of how good your employees are, if they can’t keep up with the demand, the consistently good service will begin to decline.
When it comes to hiring more CX members, it’s a good idea to employ them in advance of the incoming growth so that they’ve got time to get to grips with the company and workload before things start to get busy.
While this will improve results overall, you can also implement other customer service measures during your expansion, such as investing in regular training and outsourcing. (i.e using third-party CX companies - whether ongoing or seasonally - to help with scaling at a lower cost.)
Of course, with scaling comes challenges, so it’s important to be aware of what you might face during the process:
- Finding the right people - your employees need to have the same values as you and your company. Plus the relevant experience - or willingness to learn - for joining a fast-paced, growing company.
- Investing in equipment and licenses - extra agents means more CX tools, e.g phone software, chat software, social media support, etc.
- Making sure they’re all trained properly - before new team members can start, you need to make sure that they’ve all undergone and passed the correct training so that they can offer the professional level of service that your company already provides.
In terms of peak seasons, foreign expansions, or both, it makes more sense to outsource this to agencies who specifically work within these niche fields - but more on outsourcing later.
The practice is not just suggested for these cases, though - it’s often encouraged in general, so that you can remain flexible as a brand.
2. Automate part of your customer service
As your business grows, you’ll probably start to include automated customer support, such as chatbots to help to take some of the load off. While this will be a welcome relief, it’s important that you don’t neglect the other aspects of your CX section. I.e don't lessen the quality of your human helpers, because consumers will be less likely to return or recommend your business.
So, constant excellent customer support is imperative, especially in keeping up the quality of your staff’s service. Also, if a buyer has a serious query, at one point or another, they’re likely to want to talk to a real person to help them resolve it as quickly as possible.
Still, there are many self-service support platforms available that can easily be embedded into your website to provide you with the ultimate combination of AI-generated and human CX. For consistency, we recommend a mix of automated services, like said chatbots for simple FAQs, and adding live chat and phone options for people who need more in-depth help.
We’d advise Chat GPT - a natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that lets you have human-like conversations, plus much more with customers.
For example, it can scan all of your received customer service requests from the past year and come up with a specific categorization of all of the FAQs that have been asked by customers. It can assist you with tasks like composing essays, emails, and even code, too.
The tool also gives real agents extra time to spend resolving more complex issues on the spot, resulting in satisfied clients and positive reviews.
Essentially, when customers can get all of the support (within reason) that they need on their own - without having to ask for help at all - it’s one of the most scalable e-commerce achievements going.
3. Outsource for more organizational flexibility and scalability
For many fast-growing businesses, scalable outsourcing offers huge benefits, especially when it comes to customer service.
Because when you outsource your CX efforts, you’re not only making sure your customers receive the best and most experienced care, but you’re also increasing your business’s availability and flexibility to deal with customer concerns.
It’s also more cost-effective and offers you the freedom to focus on and grow other aspects of your company, such as:
- Networking and training
- Improving products
- Implementing new marketing strategies
- Generating new leads
And as we mentioned before, not all companies have agents available 24/7 - especially during the busier shopping periods like evenings and weekends. So, outsourcing can provide companies with more earning opportunities, and a dedicated team to solely focus on providing quality customer service at all times.
4. Hybrid customer service, the best of both worlds
Customer service in the 21st century advances almost every year. With new technology, customer service representatives can both deal with complicated tasks and evaluate their previous interactions to improve service.
We established that offering self-service options along with your customer's preferred channels is key to good customer service. But some customer issues will always require a live person, and they'll want to switch from technology to human empathy with ease. How do you balance this mix of technology and real-person, live interaction?
The key is to not go too far down the rabbit hole with automation. Especially if it sacrifices the customer experience. Automation can help you reduce costs and increase resolution times. But if you're sending customers away to other businesses, then what's the point?
This is where hybrid customer service is key. It blends the elements of self-service through FAQs and chatbots. And it also allows customers to transition over to a person when they need it.
Take your customer service to the next level
While just one pocket of your business, the entire foundation can come crashing down if your customer service isn’t top-notch. By being consistent, open to change, and anticipating your growth in terms of CX, you’ll be able to scale your e-commerce business to new heights.
Get in touch with us for more information.