For the last year I’ve been speaking to companies of all sizes about how they handle customer service. These companies very much want to provide great customer service, but the greatest challenge they face is scaling. Tactics that worked when you had 100 customers don’t work when you have 1000 or a million (Tony Hsieh certainly doesn’t respond to tweets personally any more).

The problem with scaling is that it’s not as linear as it sounds. Hiring more support employees isn’t always the best solution (AT&T has plenty of bodies, and terrible service), or the most affordable for small companies. A combination of staff, tools, and processes are required to successfully scale customer service.

That’s why today I’m excited to announce the Customer Service Scaling Timeline, a guide and blog series about how to ensure consistently great customer service as you grow. Over the course of the next few months we’ll be covering each stage in the timeline through editorials, stats, and case studies.

customer service scaling timeline

(click for larger image)

THE BIG CAVEAT: every company is different, and this timeline is not meant to be a bible. For every three companies who are successfully using one tool, there will be one company that it just doesn’t work for. This timeline should be inspiration. Break these guidelines. Tell us we’re wrong. Tread your own path. We just hope this gives you a place to start, so you can develop your own fantastic brand of customer service.

This timeline has been informed by innumerable conversations with startups, as well as collaboration with a number of wonderful people: Maria Ogneva, Chris Dunlap, Ashley Jain, Meghan Krane, Laura Gluhanich, Ted Choper and Richard White here at UserVoice, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting. They have my eternal thanks (and beer is on me next time we’re out).

Dive into the series here!

-Evan Hamilton
Community Manager, UserVoice

Design by Andrew J Osborn.