How to start improving customer service

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How we went about improving customer service in LiveChat

Just as every car requires a regular checkup, so does your support.

At the beginning of Q4 2013, We felt pretty confident with our setup: 6 dedicated agents working 5 days a week, always ready to help and go the extra mile. We wanted to take it to the next level with 24/7 support.

As it turned out, we bit off more than we could chew.

We did not have enough people to cover the whole week. Our agents couldn’t really work as a team, since they didn’t see each other for weeks on end. Emails and IM messages were not enough to keep everyone in the loop.

Our old support model didn’t really cut it anymore. Here’s how we went about improving customer service in our company and doubled the number of cases we handle.

Improving customer service from the ground up

Our game plan involved three big changes:

1. We hired more agents.

We went through a couple dozen of applications and a series of interviews. Next, we selected promising candidates and gave them a chance to shine. After a few weeks of customer service training and field-testing, we found two new additions to our,now 8-agent strong, support team.

Meet Justyna and Janek.

2. We got rid of the old shift model.

We used to have agents tied to one particular shift. The problem was that they never really had a chance to mingle with each other.

Since people work better as a team when they know each other, we decided to have everyone change shifts on a regular basis. It did wonders for our teamwork. Whenever someone needs help, people jump right in, even if it’s their day off. Our agents are also able to communicate and exchange opinions with each other more freely.

Our daily support coverage in 7shifts

We use 7shifts to manage our support coverage.

3. We leveled the knowledge of our agents.

It’s good to have experts on your team. However, when they are not able to share knowledge with other agents, all their expertise vanishes as soon as they log out.

Thanks to the new shift plan and our newly launched ticketing system, agents are finally able to pool the available information on occurring problems and available solutions. Our customers have access to 100% of our knowledge at all times.

Change is good

We’ve introduced the changes in November 2013. The coming holiday season was a big test for the new approach to support. Even though everybody went home for the holidays, we still managed to provide support the whole time. We scored great customer satisfaction ratings, which fell between 82% and 86%.

We are now able to service way more customers. In December alone, we’ve handled over 12,000 cases (10,675 chats and 1,493 tickets).

The number of chats for December, 2013

The number of chats we handled in December 2013.

To give you an idea of the increase in scale we managed to achieve, during the same period in 2012 we serviced 6,000 cases.

The lesson here is: your approach to support may become rusty over time. It requires a regular re-evaluation, just like your car needs a regular oil change. Make sure to adjust your support as you go and never cling to an outdated model.

What are your plans for getting good customer service this year? Any big changes coming or maybe you want to fine-tune the existing model?

Photo courtesy of Rob Knight.

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