If you are passionate about customer support like we are here at The Yeomen, you most likely have conversations with your team regularly about how to improve the support you provide. Is there more you could be doing? Does your team need to expand to offer additional hours of support? Are there other service options you could be offering? Should you be offering support in other languages?
These are all great (and important) conversations to have. Before you make any decisions on expanding support or language offerings, you need to have access to a good chunk of historical data and the ability to parse it to look for trends.
Expanding the team on a hunch
On a hunch you will overplay or overpay for the service. While it’s awesome to improve upon the support services you already have, you do not want to offer timely and costly offerings on a hunch. It’s very important that you do the legwork and research to understand the needs of your customers first. If you suspect you may need to build upon your core team to offer further support options like 24/7 support, additional languages or just feel you need to expand your team, here are some things to consider.
Expanding the team to offer 24/7 support
You may think customers would like 24 hour support, but you could be wrong. Take a look at the timeframes your customers are pinging support. If it’s only during an 11 or 12 hour period, then 24/7 support is not necessary. Focus more on supporting customers during peak times as opposed to covering your bases.
At The Yeomen, we offer 24/7 support. When we realized that it was necessary to do so (after much research), we built a team through multiple regions to cover multiple shifts. We are intentionally hiring in select locations where we can build a community. For example, our first team was in Richmond, then we built a team in Berlin, then in Sydney and finally in Portland. We look for locations where we can build communities so that there are opportunities for social interaction within our company.
The key to great, consistent support is great, consistent people. Great consistent people are happy, feel connected to colleagues, and have authentic relationships. This is something worth considering when you think about expanding your team.
Expanding the team to offer multiple language support
You would think it’s logical to offer Spanish because we are becoming a bilingual country; but if your customers aren’t talking about your product or company in Spanish, and they aren’t writing in in Spanish, you’d be wasting money adding Spanish as an additional support language. The language of the internet is English. Make sure you do the research before you expand your staff in order to offer support in additional languages.
If you find that you need to offer additional languages, here are some things to consider. If the overwhelming majority of your customers are interacting with you in your native language, then when you begin your search for someone to support a second language, you’ll need to find someone who is either:
- A native speaker in the primary language
- A heritage speaker in the primary language
- Someone has lived in the country and has used the language for a decade or so.
If you are going to hire someone to support a specific language you need to make sure they are also fluent in the primary language. Dual language is important because you need them to be able to help out in the queue of the primary language as well.
Why a native speaker?
Being a native speaker means that beyond being fluent, you are well versed in the cultural adages, regional dialect, and all of the subtleties of a language that you don’t learn from a book. You learn these things from being and interacting in the culture.
Customers can tell when they are not speaking to another native speaker. It sets people off and the support person on the other end is then treated as less intelligent. This impacts the support experience on both ends and can be frustrating.
Expanding your team with remote workers
If you see the need to expand your team, take a serious look at how you communicate with each other. Think hard about how that will change or be affected when everyone is not in the same room together.
You need to ensure that everyone on your team communicates in the same way. There should not be two tiers: those who are at the main office and those who are remote. At The Yeomen, if we host a social event in Berlin, we host social events everywhere else. There are also no team meetings where some people are physically in the room and others are not. Everyone has the same same experience. Philosophically there should not be a hierarchy of value put on any specific team. That means you should not treat your remote teams like the annex of your company. Be conscious about the shared experience and make sure everyone communicates and interacts on the same level.
Expanding your team is a big step! We’ve done it for The Yeomen team and for our clients as well. Take advantage of our expertise and give us a shout. You can also find out more about our services here or check out these other great blogs: