0-1000: Outsourcing Your First Hyper-Growth CX Team
Hyper-growth shouldn't mean compromising your brand CX.
You took an idea and turned it into a business. Now, revenues and your customer base are rapidly increasing. This development is exciting, but it’s also overwhelming -- as a business grows, so do customer’s expectations for a top-notch experience. It's time to scale your startup CX.
Customer experience can make or break the continued growth of your business. A Forbes Insight Report found 83% of executives face moderate to severe risks in market share because of failure to improve CX.
Though surges in business can strain staff and other resources, the customer isn’t going to care. It’s pivotal that these growing pains don’t disrupt the way your brand engages with customers on any channel, at any time.
It’s possible to scale startup CX and exceed customer expectations by consistently delivering positive service and support across touchpoints. This guide will show you how.
People often use growing and scaling interchangeably, but they are distinct.
Growing occurs when a company invests in human capital and technology and to increase profits.
Hypergrowth happens when a business’ compound annual growth rate (CAGR) surpasses 40%.
Scaling is when a company experiences an uptick in revenue without making much of an investment. Automation technologies are often critical to successful scaling strategies, but companies cannot forget about the human element involved in providing positive customer service.
Scaling your startup is both an exciting and challenging task, and CX leaders are pivotal players in the process. They’ll often have to work through common issues, including:
Customer service is essential to the customer experience — 90% of Americans say customer service is a deciding factor in whether or not they’ll do business with a brand, according to Microsoft research. Here’s how to navigate scaling your customer experience along with your company.
Strategize and Remain Disciplined
Scaling can feel like a fast-paced process. But it’s important to step back and look at the big picture and long-term goals, even when short-term needs feel overwhelming. Defining goals gives everyone a clear picture of what the company is working towards and how the customer experience fits into these goals. Outlining strategies and goals can also empower CX leaders to push back on internal requests that don’t tie back into the company’s objectives, allowing them to focus on measures that will enhance customer service.
Here’s what startup CX leaders need to think about when they define their strategies:
Build Customer Journey Maps
In order to build a scalable startup CX program that effectively meets customer needs as you grow, you’ll have to understand exactly what their journey looks like with your brand, from end-to-end. By putting together a journey map, you’ll be able to visualize every touchpoint a customer may have -- whether they are a new customer just learning about your brand, or a repeat customer.
Customer journey maps give CX leaders a clear view of the end-to-end journey of a customer’s experience with your brand. It helps leaders and teams see each touchpoint new and existing customers have with a brand and can reveal points of friction, such as unfulfilled customer support requests or having to click around too much to find a support phone number. When brands pair these maps with real CX data, they can improve upon these points of friction and create a more seamless journey.
A Unified Omnichannel Approach
Part of the reason efficient and effective training is so vital to CX is because it supports a unified omnichannel strategy that fuels customer retention and growth. Businesses with omni-channel strategies achieve 91% more year-on-year customer retention rates, according to a survey by Aspect Software.
It’s essential to streamline engagement platforms to create a more intuitive customer experience. It should be as easy to interact with or click away from a ChatBot as it is to interact with an agent by phone or live chat. This strategy meets the customer where they are and puts them in control of their preferred channel.
When creating this strategy, it’s important to strike the right balance between human and automatic support. Statistics show 34% are comfortable interacting with a ChatBot. But PWC research indicates 82% of U.S. consumers and 74% of non-U.S. consumers prefer more human interaction in the future. Automation is a key to scaling. Having it as a first touchpoint, and ensuring ChatBots and digital customer self-service guides are informative and in your brand’s tone and voice are essential. But if the customer wants or needs to interact with an agent, they should also find that service efficient, available 24/7/365, and useful in helping find a solution.
Outsourced companies often have a greater capability to staff support centers that can be available to customers at all hours the day, shoring up brands’ needs for a unified customer experience across channels.
Effective High-Volume, High-Talent Agent Recruitment
At some point, you’ll need to add support and service agents to effectively manage and exceed customer expectations. More agents supporting customers prevents any service requests from falling through the cracks on any channel. Two cost-effective ways to add agents are outsourced and captive contact centers.
Agents in captive contact centers are employed by your brand and often work in onshore, off-shore, or near-shore locations. Because these agents work directly for your company, CX leaders may feel they have more organizational control and can gain buy-in for customer service standards more efficiently. But they require you to hire the agents yourself, which means pouring over hundreds of resumes, organizing interviews, and hiring each one individually. It’s an investment of time — often months — that you may not have. The agents may be new to CX and need more training not only about your brand’s experience and journey but day-to-day operations of customer service.
Outsourced Centers allow CX leaders to hire one company and let them hire the agents. The agents will be employed by a third party. But the third party specializes in customer service and support and tapped into networks that help them find experienced agents quickly, cutting down on the length of the hiring process and training.
You’ll want to thoroughly vet agents and potential CX partners, though. During the vetting process, ask about:
Immersive, Fast Training
Whether you’re handling the hiring of each agent or outsourcing it, you’ll need to get new teammates up to speed on customer service expectations quickly to keep up with escalating demands. A thorough, efficient, and effective onboarding is vital to continued startup CX success.
Your customer should feel like they are interacting with the same trusted friend every time they engage with your brand. To ensure this happens, new agents must be on the same page with veteran CX team members.
Rewarding good CX performance and identifying areas for improvement can help bolster customer satisfaction and loyalty. Get granular by tracking an agent’s performance against key KPIs. Highlight places where agents are excelling, implement coaching and training programs for continuous improvement. There are tools available to help track performance and motivate agent performance by gamifying the agent experience and performance-based incentives. Invest in tools that will help to strengthen and empower your agents, in turn improving your entire program -- and its ROI.
Take a Proactive, Automation-Driven Approach
Customers expect a positive experience 24/7/365. The global economy is always on, particularly with digital advances. Though human interaction is still largely preferred, brands can utilize technology as the first touchpoint for customer service.
Customers can utilize self-service options, such as FAQs or troubleshooting guides on your brand’s website, or engage with an AI-driven ChatBot. Drift research found usage of ChatBots has increased 92% since 2019.
With more brands turning to them, yours must differentiate itself from the crowded field, particularly as you scale a startup. The key is to create a seamless omnichannel experience for your customer across touchpoints. Service shouldn’t feel fragmented, even if they’re engaging with a website or bot instead of a human agent.
However, Gartner research predicts at least half of brands will not have accomplished this goal by 2022. Employ these strategies so your brand can leverage a consistently second-to-none omnichannel CX strategy:
Outsource Your CX
Outsourcing can be a way to cut costs, save time, and focus your energy on high-level tasks. By leveraging a trusted CX partner, you are tapping expert resources equipped with the latest CX technologies to optimize your startup's CX program and drive more positive outcomes. You’re also freeing up time to focus on your core business, while mitigating risks and costs associated with keeping CX in-house, which allows you to scale more quickly.
Hypergrowth is exciting and overwhelming, and it’s essential the customer doesn’t catch wind of the latter. Companies must scale their startup CX operations to meet the customer’s growing demands and set teams up for success. In truth, every department should feel that they are tasked with providing a top-notch customer experience. Siloes should not exist as you scale a startup (or after). Data transparency and having key information in one place can help achieve this goal. Balancing the desire for human interaction with the benefits of automation can also allow brands to differentiate themselves from the competition as they scale. When a customer must speak with a human, it’s essential they receive stellar service. Training and continuously developing individuals will empower them to go all out for customers. When you follow the best practices in this guide, your startup CX will have longevity.
Hyper-growth shouldn't mean compromising your brand CX.
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