By Corey Besaw, Ubiquity
Left to its own devices, customer support can easily drift into a transactional, paint-by-numbers cost center that’s designed more to keep churn at bay than drive the business forward.
And this squanders a massive potential source of business growth and competitive advantage.
The problem is, it usually goes like this:
Every day, the customer support team punches in, wades through tickets, hits its targets and punches out. In turn, the business measures success largely by the absence of a negative—so long as customer churn stays flat, everything seems fine.
While this approach looks like it’s working from a distance, up close, it’s underperforming everywhere. Your customers feel served but not valued. Your agents are performing but not empowered. And your bottom line pays out more than it recovers.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
With the right approach (and the right growth-oriented BPO partner behind you), customer support can shift from a cost-sink to a growth center, that enriches customer relationships, drives employee satisfaction and goes beyond traditional KPIs to boost your bottom line.
Here are three ways the right BPO partner can transform your customer support into a growth channel.
1. They identify support metrics that could drive revenue
Traditional customer support KPIs are typically anchored to customer pain—whether it’s fault resolution or information-seeking, you are measuring how efficiently and effectively agents resolve problems.
Of course, it’s important to quantify the quality of the support you provide in a range of ways—from raw volume (like the number of tickets processed), speed (like first contact resolution rate) or even customer sentiment (like a customer satisfaction survey).
But it’s also important to measure customer support on a longer, parallel timeline that connects customer pain to revenue.
The best customer support interactions have clear monetary implications. Fault resolution is an inherently emotive interaction. The right interaction can transform customer frustration into customer loyalty.
That’s why growth-minded BPO providers understand traditional customer service metrics not just as performance indicators but as opportunities to create revenue.
For instance, instead of simply responding to higher call or ticket volume, a growth-minded BPO might help to establish a knowledge center that drives up self-service rates and automated follow-up actions.
This empowers more customers to help themselves and frees up your agents to focus on more complex or sensitive inquiries that benefit from the human touch.
The result is better, more cost-effective support that drives loyalty and improves the employee experience.
And as we’ll see, employee experience is foundational to growth-oriented customer support.
2. They train and retain growth-minded agents
Customer support agents aren’t just a vector of customer support—they are customer support. Every day they build up experience, domain knowledge and soft skills that tangibly impact the quality of service your customers receive.
This experience compounds into a powerful differentiator over time, especially when agents are given the tools to expand their knowledge and use their expertise to grow in their careers. A small team of call-hardened agents (and tenured team leads) can run rings around a fresh-faced team many times their size.
They can handle a wider range of more complex inquiries in ways that leave a customer who picked up the phone with a complaint hanging up with a smile on their face.
The trouble is that customer support is a hard job with a historically high turnover rate. Agents don’t stick around for long unless they’re supported and empowered to find satisfaction in the work. Like all of us, agents need purpose, progression opportunities, a solid work-life balance and more.
Those factors are exponentially harder to deliver when you relegate customer support to a conveyor belt of low-effort, low-return ticket clearing.
Conversely, growth-minded BPOs empower customer support agents with the training, insight and flexibility to assume accountability to revenue. And the effects are clear—the job gets infused with purpose, meaning and measurable value.
Work with a BPO provider who treats customer support agents more like your top sales people, and you’ll sow the seeds for growth-driving customer support.
3. They make specific continuous improvements in service of your business goals
A growth-oriented BPO partner is never satisfied with the status quo. They know that exceptional customer support is a moving target that needs to stay consistent with your evolving growth goals and customer expectations.
They also understand that no business is the same, so cookie-cutter approaches don’t work. Instead, they’ll learn your industry (if they aren’t already domain experts) and your business inside out—while also enriching your customer support with the experience, lessons and insights gained from the lateral industries they’ve served to date.
They’ll perceive and absorb subtle shifts in customer attitudes and market appetite into firm recommendations about what needs to change about your approach. Then they’ll distill those recommendations into fun and interactive training curricula that focus your agents on the scenarios that drive satisfaction (and growth).
They’ll have a dedicated quality assurance team who monitors calls in real-time to give agents feedback into how they’re performing and what they can do to improve performance.
Every business wants to achieve significant annual expansion. Growth-oriented customer support organizations can help you accelerate toward that goal—but only if it’s optimized to support the business you are today (and not the one you were two years ago).
Growth-oriented customer support is a powerful source of competitive advantage that’s available to everyone. But the fastest route toward it is to work with a BPO partner who’s helped businesses make that journey many times.
If you want help transforming your customer support from a cost center into a growth driver, let’s talk.