How Do You Build a Customer Service Department
– Advice from Shep Hyken

christian montes

Christian Montes
Executive Director of Sales at NobelBIz

How do you build a customer service department from the ground up in an efficient and practical manner? We asked customer service & experience expert Shep Hyken just that. First you need to know where you’re starting and the biggest problems your customers have.

christian montes

Shep Hyken
Customer Service & Experience Expert

Christian Montes:

For those that have a customer service department and then say: okay, I’m going to blow this thing up and rebuild it from the ground up OR I’m building this from scratch.

Are there some key things that you think you’d have to have or you must have in a customer service department to do it right?

This article is part of our podcast series. Listen to it here:

1. Don’t Rely Too Much on Technology

Shep Hyken:

Right, well the first thing is don’t let technology get in the way of a human relationship; you can’t automate a relationship. Now, if you’re in a type of business, and there are very few businesses that can get away with this, where everything is digital or automated, but self-service needs a human backup.

So, I would say okay – number one, if I’m going to be starting from scratch – number one I would want to know what are my most common complaints.

So where are we starting from scratch: are we starting from a place like the company’s never sold an item before or are we starting from “I think we’re big enough now that we need to have a support center”?


Yeah, let’s go with that one.

2. Everyone in a Small Business Needs to Take a Customer Service Shift


Okay good, because I think starting from scratch at the very beginning is kind of… ok, ’ll go there, okay? Small business, starts from scratch, what do you do? You let everyone take a shift as a customer service rep! And that means two hours a week, two hours a day, everybody gets to play a role.

I believe customer service is cultural, it’s part of a philosophy, it’s not just a department. You can call it a department if you want but that’s because that’s what you call it. It’s not really what it’s meant to be – everybody’s involved. So, we want everybody there.

3. Mitigate or Eliminate the Biggest Complaints

But let’s say we’re getting to a point where we need to build out. Number one we sit down with the team and go: “What are you hearing? What are the biggest complaints that you hear?” – that’s the first thing. We want to know why they’re happening again, it’s time to start to mitigate or eliminate them. That’s a team effort. Now how are we going to answer them?

4. Explore Self-Service Options

Are we getting too many calls? Is there a way we can direct them to a video tutorial? Is there a way that we might be able to answer these on a Frequently Asked Questions basis? So, we’re going to look at some self-service options to couple with our interactions, people-to-people, human-to-human.

For example, I bought this recording software, and I really am struggling on how to use it. In three days, I get an automated email from this company. I know it’s automated even though it doesn’t appear to be so, I just know it is. And it says: “Hey, we want to make sure you’re happy! Do you have any questions? Is there anything we can do to support you?”

And I say: as a matter of fact, there is, I can’t figure out how to import the music, actually I can’t even figure out how to play music so I can hear it through my speakers – what am I doing wrong?

And at that point, a human agent responded, within literally less than an hour, and said: here are three links to some videos. If that doesn’t work and you can’t get your problem resolved, you let me know and I may jump on the phone to walk you through it.

I thought, wow: they trained me to go use videos that are on their site. And by the way, the next time I have a question you know where I’m going to go first? I’m not going to go calling their support number, I’m going to go to the video page and see what videos are there that I could learn from.

So, we want to put these pieces in place. By the way: video tutorials and frequently asked questions cost less – it’s not like you’re implementing a ton of technology.

5. Get Good Software

Now, let’s get a little bit more sophisticated. We need a good relationship management, CRM type of program.

I want to be able to give my agents a piece of software that can handle everything in one place – so they’re not switching from one program to the next. And if we do use separate programs, make sure they integrate as if they’re one.

6. Be Ready on Social Channels

That’s really how it starts. We could go on and on and on about building this thing up, but I want everybody as we start to become aware of people talking to us via social channels, we need to make sure we’re always monitoring those social channels and responding to every single comment.

If it’s nothing more than a thank you for a positive compliment – that’s at least a response. But if somebody has an issue or a complaint you need to resolve it or at least start the resolution process – which means, by the way, going from social to handling it behind the scenes either with direct messages or on the phone. And then going back. Because people can watch what’s going on – because that’s why they call it social media, not private, behind-the-scenes media.

Summing Up

If you’re in need of a software that allows you to manage client information and social channels in the same place where you manage voice, look no further than OMNI+, NobelBiz’s premium omnichannel contact center software, designed with full work-from-home capabilities.

What other tips do you have for building a customer service department? If you’ve got some cool ideas, we’re open to hearing about them in the comments.

Work Remotely with our True Omnichannel Solution:

NobelBiz OMNI+ Brings Your Contact Center into the Present

You need a solution that lets you do everything remotely, from a single platform with as little effort as possible. That’s where NobelBiz OMNI+ comes in!


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