Friday, February 1, 2013

Technical Support and Tiered Support Levels

In Customer Service and Technical Support it is all about getting that client issue to the right person (based on skills and language) as quickly as possible and ensuring that you meet or exceed your SLA. Now this can be accomplished through a variety of different methods and depending upon the size of your contact center, you should ensure that you explore some or all of them.

Training 



Probably the most important criteria is training. You need to ensure that you have explored the requirements and needs of your customers fully and that based on these needs, the majority of your agents have the requisite skills to resolve their issues and assist them. Determining Their Needs 



If you do not know what your clients need then this is absolutely the first area of concern. You need to conduct surveys and do analysis of your past and historical incidents and contacts and determine from that what they are going to be asking. You will find that there is a significant amount of repetition with regards to client inquiries and if you are in a business with a growing customer base you will see this repetition play out most frequently with new accounts. Once you know what they are going to be asking, then you can put a training plan into place to ensure that you plug those holes. The quicker and sooner you are able to do this, the more satisfied your customers will be. 


Tiered Support Model 



As important as training is, you are not going to be able to have all of your staff at the same level. This is actually not a bad thing as the questions and queries that you will be receiving will also be at differing levels of complexity. By putting in place a plan that allows you to tier your teams based on their skills not only are you being more efficient with your resources, but you are also building an escalation model and a promotion path into your support organization. 


Erlang ‘C’ & Scheduling for Call Centres 



Tiered Support ensures that your training dollars are best spent where they are most useful and also allows you to offer your customers an increased level of service in various different fashions. 


Tier'ing Your Customers 



As you might recall from my previous posts on the 80/20 rule (here and here), you are best served by distributing your clients based on their “value” to your business. As much as you might like to treat all clients the same, the unfortunate fact is that they are not! You will often find that 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your issues and also (and perhaps more importantly!) 20% of your clients are responsible for 80% of your revenue. Unfortunately also, these two different “circles” do not always overlap and it is absolutely key that you determine which of your clients fit into which circle. 



Once you have made that determination however, things become much clearer and easier to handle. By putting your customers into tiers, you are able to offer the ones with higher value to your business a different path to the support that they need in contrast to your other customers.









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