Congratulations, the demands from your growing number of customers is beginning to put a strain on the existing members of the team! What now? Time to hire Customer Support, that’s what!
A mistake I’ve seen several early stage companies make at this moment in their growth is to not fully commit to the idea. Instead of hiring an experienced customer support professional, they’ll instead bring on an intern or part-time person to run triage on these customer inquiries. Sure it helps provide a quick response but is it really creating the experience you want for this group who is actually paying you? I would argue it is not. Especially compared to the time, energy and effort you spent getting them to become a paying customer in the first place.
Customer Support is the front line of your company’s relationship with your customer base. They are the ones engaging with them during some truly trying, high anxiety moments. So why not ensure that it’s as quality an experience as possible. Because of this proximity to the customer base, Support can be a great team to execute your Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and/or Net Promoter Score (NPS). They are also the ones who hear about the small, annoying things about your product or platform -ones that can often be fixed quickly or easily as a part of your regular release cycle. Your customer support team also allows your leaders to get back to leading, your sellers to get back to selling and your engineers to get back to building.
I would also encourage you to not think of your Customer Support team as a cost center but rather a place to invest that can ultimately have a huge ROI on the business. Remember that companies that prioritize the customer experience generate 60% higher profits than their competitors.
Throughout my career I have found Customer Support to be one of the best places for internal promotions. They know your products. They know your customers. Heck they probably know where most of the warts are. So why not consider them for Implementation, Customer Success, Sales Engineering, NOC/SOC, or Engineering positions when they become available in the future.
You may be thinking that there isn’t going to be enough work for this person or team to work on during the entirety of their shift – especially at first. Fine, I’ll give your that. But please don’t make them the “junk drawer” of your organization by filling their day with menial tasks. Focus the time they aren’t in the queue working with customers on ongoing projects like an online help center, training materials or a customer community. Not only do they have a general proximity to Customer Support but also the potential for ongoing positive impacts to the customer base.
I can summarize this entire blog pretty easily: you are not a business without your customers. Having a strong Customer Support team shows that you will treat them like the priority they are.