Have you ever heard a story about a founder who framed his or her first dollar earned? It’s a little corny, but it’s an easy reminder that every company starts with just one dollar. That individual bill isn’t worth more than any of the other earned dollars, but the moment surrounding that first transaction was so memorable that it’s forever a part of that company’s story.
The same is true of a first customer: they’re memorable. The first customer receives the ultimate customer support experience because they set the standard for service. Businesses realize that the first customer is taking a chance with them, so they will do anything to make sure that customer is treated well.
While that first customer is remembered, eventually companies grow and start celebrating their one hundredth, one thousandth or even one millionth customer. What happens to the quality of customer support as the business scales? It’s impossible to treat that millionth customer as well as the first, but that doesn’t justify letting support standards sag. Here are some things to think about when planning to support a growing customer base.
Without customer support, there isn’t growth
The best reason to prioritize customers through growth is to continue growing. An easy way to gain new customers is to treat the ones you have in a way that encourages them to become evangelists for your brand. Companies with a reputation for excellent customer service stand out when people are making a purchasing decision, especially when they’ve received a recommendation from a friend.
In the same way, if new customers don’t feel valued, they won’t be customers very long. When customer support quality starts to decline, growth starts to drop off too. The best way to keep customers is to keep them happy.
Don’t be surprised by growth
Just like all of the other teams at a company, a customer support team needs a long-term strategy. It’s up to the leadership to know when to hire new employees and add new support processes to accommodate the customer base. The first member of the support team can handle a certain number of customers, but at a certain point, the team will need to expand. It’s better to have that second person ready to step in as soon as they’re needed rather than waiting until it’s too late. The same lesson is true for every new member as your team scales: train new people before they’re needed so that they’re ready to contribute when the moment is right.
There are growing pains for any business, but if the leadership is setting a goal to have a specific number of customers by a certain date, they had better be able to support that many people by then too. Scalability is a huge part of keeping your customers satisfied.
Develop Efficient and Scalable Support Processes Early, Not on the Fly
Early on in a company’s lifecycle, it’s easy to make exceptions for certain customers. There might not yet be established support processes yet and those early customers deserve the best. As the customer base grows, there needs to be a focus on establishing best practices that reduce one offs and prioritize efficiency. It’s extremely difficult to streamline support processes during a period of growth, so a company is better off building a firm support base before there are too many customers.
Your support team needs to anticipate how it will handle an increase in customers. You won’t always predict the future correctly, but it’s better to be looking down the road than to react to all the potholes you hit. To learn more about how you can facilitate growth through service at your company, check out our ebook with tips for customer support agents.