As discussed in a previous article, a growing start-up will reach the point where a formal customer support function – encompassing people, process, and technology — becomes necessary.
Once your company has reached that point, the following 5 steps will steer you towards identifying the right solution:
- Define your requirements. These aren’t strictly technical. Instead, the various parts of your company should together define what your customer support group needs to be able to do, in terms such as “We need to be able to track the reasons customers call” or “We’d like to be able to let customers choose the way they prefer to contact us.”
- Calculate the volume of requests you expect to handle. If you’re ready to build your customer support capability, it’s probably at least in part due to the growing number of help requests you’re receiving. Use this information, combined with your strategic plans, to estimate a range for the volume of help requests you anticipate during a given period.
- Research both insourcing and outsourcing providers. Your company can choose to develop an in-house function or work with a partner who provides customer support services to a range of clients. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
- Determine your budget. After an initial survey of providers, you’ll have the information you need to calculate the expenditure you’ll need to make. You should also identify any financial constraints that might affect your selection.
- Select a provider. Work with that organization to develop support processes and materials, and identify required staffing levels.
These steps will ensure you end up with a customer support function that meets both your needs and those of your customers. There are lots of great resources available to help you with any or all of the steps in this process. If your staff is particularly constrained, you may want to consider using a consultant who can facilitate and expedite this process. For more information, please contact us.