Managing Customer Operations 202
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you know the 101 of Customer Operations Management 101, which is rule 1: Dont be a fucking asshole. Cool. So let’s move on. Let’s assume you have a team established.
Well, so here’s the thing. Beyond rule 1, It’s not that hard as a Manager. You’ve establised your team, youve established your tools, your operational rules, your culture is pretty much set now….but hey SENIOR management wants SCALABILITY, and GROWTH. SO what now?
You find leaders. You find the go-getters that have gumption. You look at your team, and you look at the ones that the people gravitate to.
“But hey? My people have so many different skillsets? What now?”
This is AMAZING for you. This sets the precedence for “skills-based routing”, which means you can build teams of people dedicated to specific functions of your product. Benefits? They get a career path they are honed in on, and you have an inspired worker that now has a specific purpose and ownership in their daily life.
You also look at efficiency. You’ll have your specialists at this point, but this is when you’ll want to bolster your front line. While most people in the industry will look to find techy people, the secret to good support is finding experienced support people, to be the “human” element to this. Their voice and reasoning alone will statistically close more than half of your tickets. Just by being that reassuring voice.
Of course, anything that cannot be handled by your front line, should go to your afore-mentioned specialists. It might take a little longer, but the issue has been vetted out, and has been escalated to the proper queue.
At this point, as a manager, you’re fairly involved. You’re aware, but you’re hands-off. You are communicating at a very high level. You know the product-level issues at hand and are comparing them to the rest of the local world you are in.
Then, shit hits the fan. Your software fucks up, something breaks hard. This is when you look to the afore-mentioned people to handle. What are they doing? They should be messaging what happened, what you did to fix, and how it will NEVER happen again. All of this is obviously disseminated to the entire support team, sales and success teams.
Now, your stuff is fairly handled. Your specialized people are working on the escalated stuff, and your front-line is killing the smaller stuff.
You should be prepared to always handle escalations from customers at this point. Yes, some think that the goal is to make the customer happy, but i agree to a point.
And who handles those escalations? The people that you put into place to handle specific needs. They are so happy to help, because it is totally their wheelhouse, comfort-zone and passion. You are now allowing your people to blossom. This statistically makes for faster resolutions, and what the industry qualifies as "happy" customers.
I think ultimately, happy customers are a good goal, but what is "happy"? Happy is great for a first date or a sip of a new whiskey. I think differently. I feel we should think about the satisfaction and fulfillment of our customers.
To me, that is the HUGE smile.
Let's build teams that can satisfy and fulfill our customers' needs.