Burgeoning businesses work hard for every single customer. In those early days, every customer interaction feels intimate, every good review hard-earned.
But nothing scales a business faster than a funding round. With growth comes challenges, none more important than maintaining the high standard for customer experience set when every engagement was make-or-break.
Sustaining excellent customer service is hard, made harder still by large influxes of capital designed to grow, propel, and ultimately change a business. By definition, raising money almost always translates into rapid expansion.
How should your business be thinking about the problem of, or more accurately, the opportunity in customer experience in relation to its next funding round? Whether you’re still making it work with seed funding or barreling towards your C round, the formula for smart CX growth doesn’t change.
Frame Up Your CX Challenges
Your organization’s CX situation is unique. The roadblocks standing in your way before A round weren’t necessarily the same ones you face today. Scaling successfully depends on your ability to detect your potential weak spots.
When you graduated from startup stage, your biggest CX challenge might have been communication. How could you keep your customer experience team cohesive while they were literally growing from a one-table group of experienced professionals to a wing- or even floor-filling department? Today, maybe you’re challenged by bad or incomplete data, or maybe your agent attrition rate is skyrocketing and you’re not sure why.
Framing up the the customer experience potholes in the road ahead – seeing them, recognizing them, and planning for them – is the only way to ensure customer experience doesn’t suffer growing pains.
Keep in mind your investors will hold you responsible for any of the growth struggles you experience whether you saw them coming or not. Putting baseline metrics in place, outlining existing processes, and identifying underlying issues aren’t just ways to slow your burn rate, they’re how you preserve investor confidence in your business. Once you scale past funding, “winging it” just won’t cut it.
Implement Changes Thoughtfully and Strategically
As a growing business, particularly one with a lot of capital at-hand, one of the worst things you can do is to become reactive rather than proactive. Customer experience is a delicate balance. You’ve got to know what your customers want, listen carefully to their feedback, and make forward-looking business decisions based on this data. It’s about growing as a team while remaining nimble enough to pivot.
The logistics of expanding your CX team will be one of your most complex considerations.
- Is your current office arrangement optimized for agent performance, and does it have room to grow into?
- Should your team be scaled in layers ranging from standard customer service agents to “super agents” at the top trained (and paid) to handle VIP customers?
- Is it best for the bottom line and/or for the customer to keep the CX team in the head office, or should you consider a satellite office in another location? What about BPOs?
- How should you organize management to ensure complete visibility both upstream and downstream going forward?
Determining the right logistical plays isn’t as simple as running a few cost-benefit analyses. It’s incredibly important to consider how each of the changes you’re considering making will impact not just the customers’ experiences, but the agents’ too. Engaged, happy customer service agents perform better.
Put the Right Tools in Place
So, you’ve got a plan designed to scale. If sales take off, your CX team is ready. But are you?
Without tools in place to properly measure performance, you’re flying blind. You won’t know what’s holding steady, what’s thriving, and what broke along the way. Losing the insights gleaned from customers – data that once helped separate your business from the back – is the the first step in a customer experience decline. Those insights are what tell you where to tweak and how to act: add more agents; invest in microcoaching, consider technology that can streamline the customer journey.
CX doesn’t decline in quality just because a business “gets bigger.” There are always metrics available to tell you how to best structure your growing company and services whether they point to people, process, or platforms.
Stella Connect was built to help maturing companies scale. CX doesn’t operate in a vacuum, and every perspective of the customer journey has to be considered in order to paint an accurate picture. Stella provides incredibly granular data on the individual performance of agents in real-time. That data doesn’t just illuminate a how well you’re servicing your customers, it tells you a lot about the agent experience, too. And as we already know, a better agent experience means better interactions with customers.
Stella Connect for Startups
Stella Connect is the customer feedback tool for startups…and industry disruptors, and established brands. The ability to offer stand-out customer service is integral to success for so many startups. We created Stella Connect for Startups specifically to address the unique challenges of the cash-strapped, dream-rich businesses of tomorrow.