Support operations

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Support operations

What is support operations?

Support operations is a team that is specially dedicated to supporting your customer support team. They’re responsible for putting in place all the things that your support team needs to best serve your customers. 

Their job is to ensure that your actual support agents can take care of your customers in the best way possible, without having to worry about implementing new systems, getting new tools, writing documentation, or developing workflows and processes.

Support operations teams are not all that common just yet. While most small to medium-sized businesses do not have a support operations team in place to help and support their customer support teams, the majority of large enterprises recognize the value that these teams bring to the table and make sure to maintain these teams to increase the efficiency of their customer service teams and increase their customer satisfaction and loyalty, ultimately increasing the company’s profitability.

While smaller companies may have concerns about investing in a support operations team, those that take the leap and make the investment do tend to see good returns, even if the company does not allocate a huge budget towards that team.

They tend to be very effective in helping the customer support teams serve the company’s customers in a better manner, thus increasing customer satisfaction, leading to the customers increasing their average spend per transaction, and causing them to keep doing business with that company over a longer period of time, thereby leading to an increase in the company’s revenue, profitability, and customer lifetime value.

When this happens, these smaller companies do not need to allocate as much money towards the acquisition of new customers as they already are. This is because adding a support operations team will prove that it costs less to retain existing customers than it does to acquire new customers. The company’s acquisition spend could also be reduced because existing customers are far easier to sell to than new customers and will be more open to trying the company’s new offerings than a customer who hasn’t done business with them before. When the support operations team enables the customer support team to serve the customers in a better manner, the customers will start telling the people in their circles about the great experience they had with the company, thus improving the company’s reputation dramatically.

Support operations
Source: Gartner

What does a support operations team do?

What does a support operations team do?

Your support operations team performs a range of tasks, all aimed towards helping your customer support efforts become as efficient and effective as possible.

Here are some of the tasks that your support operations team focuses on:

1. Improving workflows

By the time you feel the need to introduce a support operations team, it is likely that you would have put a lot of processes and workflows in place. However, it is also likely that these workflows are rather rudimentary and need to be optimized.

Your support operations team is in charge of streamlining these workflows and increasing their effectiveness.

2. Tools

A support operations team should be on the lookout for tools that could increase your support department’s efficiency and improve the quality of your support.

They should look for ways to take the pressure off their actual agents. Knowledge bases and chatbots are powerful self-service tools that could help with this. Your support operations team could even build intelligent chatbots own their own, without coding using intuitive platforms like Engati.

3. Training

Your support operations team also needs to make sure that your customer service representatives have all the training they need to perform optimally. The support operations team trains agents both on new tools as well as on the business’s offerings.

4. Reporting

The team tracks agent metrics as well as the support department’s metrics, looking to help the department meet KPIs. It also evaluates the data, looking for areas where improvements can be made.

Why is it important to have a support operations team?

As your company grows, so do your customers’ requirements. If your support team needs to pick their own tools, improve their own workflows, prepare their own documentation, etc., they won’t have enough time or energy to take care of your customers.

Your support operations team takes care of all this for them, allowing your agents to focus purely on understanding your customers’ needs and serving them. Since they also create self-service resources, they reduce the load on your support team, allowing them to deliver higher quality service.

What are the advantages of having a support operations team?

Advantages of having a support operations team

Here are the main advantages of having a support operations team:

1. Gives you an outsider’s perspective

This team is not bogged down in dealing with your actual customers personally. They can look from the outside, free of bias, and identify areas of improvement. Additionally, since the support operations team members would tend to be former support agents themselves, they know what the agents are facing and how they are feeling.

2. Increases customer retention

When your support operations team analyzes support data, they can identify patterns, noticing major causes for customer churn, helping you solve the issues, and increase retention.

3. Gives your support team the tools they need

Your support operations team will help your support team get the specific tools and systems that would work best for them. If necessary, they could even build custom tools to meet specific needs.

4. Career growth

Since support operations teams need to support your support team, they require employees who themselves are experienced support agents. These would be the people who could understand your support team and help them achieve their goals. Senior support specialists who are looking for new challenges could fit in here, helping your employees grow in their careers, and allowing you to retain valuable employees.

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