This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline.

customer service scaling timeline stage 4Welcome to Stage 4 of the Customer Service Scaling Timeline. You’re no longer a fresh startup – you’ve been around for a bit, you have a team, you have money flowing in, and during the last stage you put some initial customer support systems in place. Now it’s time to start filling in the holes and scaling with your growing customer base. Hey, it’s a good set of problems to have!

Here are some of the changes we recommend in Stage 4:

  • Consider hiring additional employees. One person doesn’t scale, even if you follow all of our optimization tips.
  • Replace your passive FAQ or Knowledge Base with a smart system. Well-surfaced FAQs could prevent 40% of customer support requests. Make them carry their weight.
  • Integrate your support tools on your Facebook page, in your mobile apps, etc. As you move past the early adopters, people are going to be increasingly demanding that your support come to them.
  • As your support team grows past one you’ll want to make sure your ticket system supports collision detection, so two people don’t answer the same support request.
  • Start building processes with your development team. With more customers comes more issues, and making sure they’re actually getting addressed will become a problem.
  • On that same note: build a critical issue escalation process. If it’s not already, your team is going to be too big to simply yell across the table when something goes wrong. We’ll delve into this in detail later this month.
  • Now that you’ve implemented many of the obvious requests from your customers, start mining your customer feedback system for larger customer needs (and hit up people who voted for those ideas to become beta testers).
  • Start implementing some basic customer service reporting: what’s trending, are you responding to things quickly, etc. Get a basic read on the pulse of your customer service.

Stay tuned for our first Stage 4 post later this week…