You call tech support and you are put on hold, listening to awful hold music for what seems like forever. When you finally get connected to an agent, you are asked unrelated questions, and instructed to go to a web form and submit a ticket. Or worse, you only got an answering machine. Let’s face it, we’ve all probably been there. We got the run around or simply no phone support at all, when you needed it the most.
What about your business? Do you offer phone support? If not, why? And if you do, do you have a performing team? Is it setting you apart from the competition? How are you managing calls and measuring your phone team’s performance? Below are some ideas to ‘grease the bearings’ on your thinking wheel:
Is there a Need?
This is probably the first question you should ask yourself. Perhaps you asked yourself ‘if you needed phone support’ before you started reading this article. Only you will truly know if phone support is necessary. Perhaps it’s something you can decide on a survey of existing customers or based on your customer base and target markets.
Scope of Support
Once you have determined your need, it’s critical to first identify the task of the team - that is, your scope of support. This will be a building block for all the other points discussed later on in this article. For example, you may choose to have the phone team only provide Level1 support including things as: email setup and troubleshooting, ftp setup and publishing websites, and control panel functionality. This might be largely dependant on your target market. Maybe you want phone support only as an emergency contact method, during business hours, or as a teaching tool for your new customers.
Once your scope of support is clearly defined, you can create your training program. What does the team need to know to fulfill their scope of support? That’s not to say that they can’t learn more - in fact, encourage it so that they can grow with your organization. Your training program should be setup in such a way that anyone within the team can be the teacher. This will allow you to effectively scale your team when the time comes. There’s hundreds of books available on the proper training methods, so I won’t cover that deeply. But make the training program fun to keep the person engaged.
A work instruction and policy should be created when you decide on your scope of support. As time goes on, this work instruction will adapt to the calls the team receives, and as new problems and situations are encountered. The work instruction should clearly outline what’s expected of each team member and how to handle the most common scenarios. For example, How should the team handle calls about X? During a service outage, how should the team respond to Y?
Next week, we’ll peer into measuring your teams performance, and things related to the PBX…
About the author:
Robert Broyles is Team Leader at the Bobcares Phone Support Center, Phoenix, AZ. While he is not busy managing the team and Phone support, Robert loves to tweak Asterisk systems.
Co-Authored by Sankar.H