Published August 31, 2022
A good client service team is vital to client retention. They’re the ones who keep your clients happy and engaged with your services.
As your business expands, so will the workload bearing down on your client success employees. To maintain high standards of client retention, you’ll need to scale the team up, finding new recruits and supporting existing employees. This is about more than warm bodies and voices on the phone: you need to give your team the skills and knowledge to provide an excellent client experience grounded in a client-centric culture.
Here are five tips for scaling up your team without losing the features that make it valuable:
When you’re scaling your client service team, it’s important to hire the right people. Ideally, these should be client success professionals with experience in a similar company, but the world is imperfect, and sometimes your best option will come from outside your field. So how do you pick someone who will excel at client retention?
Start by finding people who are passionate about client service. They should show enthusiasm for helping other people and for growing a business.
Out of those potential recruits, focus on the ones with the skills and knowledge to help your clients achieve their goals. This might mean familiarity with the industry your clients work in, knowledge of the products you’re selling, or experience working in client service.
If possible, recruit people who are good at problem-solving. This is a skill that’s valuable in almost any job, but particularly so in the complex world of client service. They’ll need to be able to troubleshoot problems, negotiate awkward conversations, and find new ways for your products to fulfil clients’ needs.
A positive attitude is essential. It gives clients a better experience and fosters a happy atmosphere within the team.
Training is as important as recruitment in scaling your client service team.
This is partly about bringing new recruits up to speed. Wherever they’ve come from, they won’t have the exact skills and knowledge you need, or know about your company. They’ll need training on this as part of the onboarding process.
But it’s not just about new recruits. Established team members need training to face the challenges that come with growth and the changing workload it brings.
Your training program should cover client service strategies and best practices. The team might benefit from individual client management coaching, so that they can better support the client journey. It’s useful to give team members a variety of strategies and techniques they can apply, but consistency is important. Make sure that everyone is on the same page about standard procedures and what best practice looks like.
While the broad spread of client service skills are important, so are the specifics of the technology you work with. B2C and B2B client management software solutions are hugely variable, so make sure that everyone gets thorough training. Even people who’ve used the software before may not know all of its most efficient tricks for managing the client journey, to it’s worth providing refresher training for old hands.
A growing team also means that established members will take on new responsibilities, like mentoring and managing new recruits. People management is a whole set of skills in its own right, so look for opportunities to train employees to take on these responsibilities. Even if they’re only doing a little to start with, this could quickly escalate in a growing team, and it’s better for them to be well trained from the start.
There are two parts to a client service team: the people and the tools they use. As you grow, it’s important to upgrade those tools, and that means investing in technology.
Good technology will streamline your workflow, helping you manage tasks and centralise key client information. Client Management software should provide workflow management, integrated CRM, and data analysis tools to track your team’s performance.
The right technology can also help by automating tasks. It acts as a virtual assistant, picking up the administrative burden and saving time for your staff to focus on clients. At the simplest level, this means setting up the tasks on a client account and providing reminders of what to do next. More advanced software like that provided by Kaizan can provide greater benefits, with conversation intelligence that pulls important information into your records and sets up tasks for future action.
Make sure to focus on technology that’s going to benefit you. Client Management SaaS and other professional software are an ongoing cost, and the longer you use the software, the more you’ll become tied to its systems, so take the time to pick the right tool. The more specific it is to your industry, and the more central it is to your work, the more likely it is that the benefits will justify the costs.
When you’re scaling your client service team, it’s important to set clear goals and objectives. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same objectives. It will also help you judge whether the expansion of your team is working and whether you’re seeing the benefits you wanted.
Goals that you might consider for your team include
As with any goals, it’s important to be smart. Specify the levels of improvement you’re looking for, and try to balance realism with ambition. Targets might be defined from above, but if you can set them in collaboration with your team, then you’ll increase their buy-in, and with it their commitment to improving the client journey.
Wherever the goals come from, talk with your team about how you’re going to work towards them. They may have ideas for action items that will bring you closer to your goals, or changes in your processes that could help. Client service is grounded in the work of client service professionals, so securing their commitment is central to success.
One of the reasons to be specific in setting goals is so that you can judge whether you’re hitting them. To ensure that your team is on track, measure progress on a regular basis and act on what you find.
There are a variety of metrics that you can use to measure your success. These include client churn rate, client satisfaction score, and client lifetime value. Some directly record the attitudes of clients, while others take a more indirect approach, showing their impact on your company’s financial outcomes.
Good measures let you do a number of things:
Critically, all of this should drive adjustments to the way you work. Knowing that you’ve struggled with client retention is only useful if you can act on it, and act in the right way. Good measures don’t just show the overall picture, but tunnel down into it, helping you to identify why specific processes are working well or badly, what you should do more often, and what you should change.
Ultimately, your measures should connect back in to everything else you’ve done. If you’ve recruited the right team, trained and equipped them well, and set appropriate goals, then this will show in the measures you’re using, and in your happy clients.