Without your customers, your business wouldn't be able to succeed. That’s why it’s vital to hire, train and enable the right customer service representatives for your business. They are responsible for dealing with customers before, during and after the sale, ensuring your consumers have a smooth and enjoyable experience throughout.
Structure Departments With Motivational Leadership
Your customer service organization will vary depending on the size and type of business you run. If you own a small organization, you may only have one customer service representative. In larger organizations, you may have enough representatives to form their own department. In either case, it’s critical to have a customer service leader who's responsible for motivating, empowering and managing the representatives.
Regardless of the structure of your customer service department, the leadership team should:
- Oversee daily tasks and duties.
- Resolve conflicts between customers or employees.
- Provide guidance for specific processes and tasks.
- Build camaraderie between employees.
- Empower employees to take charge of their roles.
- Create a strategy for the company’s policies on customer service.
Depending on the number of employees you have that are focused on customer service, you may require a manager to run the day-to-day operations for the department, plus a director or senior executive that handles the strategy and finances. Based on your customer service representatives’ functions, you can also add in additional managers to handle issues such as returns, warranties and issue escalation.
Build a Customer Service Department Structure
The roles of the employees in the customer service department will vary depending on the company, but their main goal will always be to ensure that the customer has a positive experience. Customer service roles may involve:
- Account management: These employees stay in contact with customers throughout their lifetime with the company, regardless of where they are in the sales process. They nurture relationships and advocate for the customer’s best interests within the organization.
- Loyalty and rewards: These specialists design and implement programs to encourage future patronage from customers through incentives and retention-based initiatives.
- Returns and warranty: These employees process all returns and warranty claims. They're highly knowledgeable about the product or service and understand common issues for returns and claims.
- Issue management: Conflict resolution is a specialty of this area of customer service. These employees handle any escalations and help improve the product or service based on customer requests.
- Support: These employees provide guidance to customers who have purchased the product, helping them navigate any issues or questions. They have detailed technical knowledge about the product.
- Sales: In some organizations, customer service and customer success roles are aligned with revenue targets. They handle sales in addition to helping customers with their needs.
In some organizations, one employee may handle all of these roles, while in others they may be divided amongst several employees or departments. Review your organization’s needs to determine the right distribution of these customer service roles between your employees.
Create a Structure That Grows With Your Organization
Your customer service organizational chart is a work in progress. As your organization grows, you may need to review and revise your customer support team structure. Be sure to design your department so that you're able to scale your business. For example, if you currently have one customer service role that handles all of the related tasks, you can scale slowly by adding in a part-time or full-time employee.
Group like tasks together, such as having returns, warranty and issue management handled by one role and having account management and loyalty handled by another. This way, your employees can focus on and specialize in a particular area of customer service. This enables them to develop their skills and offer your customers a higher level of service.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.