One of the most dangerous things about scaling to 6-7 figure months is this: The faster you scale, the chances of you getting banned is higher.And that’s because as you scale quickly, you start to receive much more support tickets on a daily basis.And if you don’t address them fast enough, you start to experience:- Higher refund rates- Lower feedback scores – A lot of complaints from unhappy customers.All these could get you in trouble and put you out of business (quite literally).With FB, Paypal and Shopify banning everything left right centre, having a good Customer Service (CS) system is not only good to have…It’s literally one of the most important things to pay attention to…Especially if you want to scale to 7 figure months.As eCom store owners start to receive much more support tickets as they scale, the first thing they would do is to start hiring more VAs for CS aggressively.That can usually plug the gap in the short-term.But without a scalable CS system, simply hiring more VAs like that can create a lot more problems…Problems that will not only stop your scaling prematurely…But can also make you lose money.After working with and talking to many 6-7 figures eCom store owners, I’ve found that many of their CS departments don’t have a scalable CS system.This causes their CS team to operate at only 30-50% capacity.In other words, the CS team’s time and efficiency are not being maximized.So instead of requiring just 1 or 2 VAs to handle their support tickets…They ended up needing 2x or 3x the number of VAs… which greatly increases their cost and lowers the profit margins.For some dropshippers and eCom store owners, they might even start receiving much lower profits than if they have not scaled to 6-7 figures per month.(Don’t be fooled by those screenshots of how dropshippers are scaling to 6-7 figures per month. They could actually just be breaking even or even losing money).But the good news is, once you create a scalable CS system, not only will your CS team be able to handle much more support tickets without needing to hire more people…It can even help you to scale faster and with much higher profits.(So when you share screenshots of your 7 figure months, you can also brag that about your profits )Whenever we help our clients to build a scalable CS system, they experience benefits like: They can scale their business faster and smoother, conducting more product launches knowing that their business is able to handle more tickets when they hit a winning product. (And they get to worry less about bans from poor customer feedback) Their business has more consistent cash flow and profits. Refunds and chargebacks are lower. Less money held with payment processors. Their customers love their brands and CS, which can result in more recurring purchases, higher LTV, and strong brand relationships. Great if you want to turn your general store into a branded store.They can finally extract themselves from the CS process totally with peace of mind knowing it will still run smoothly. Now they have more time to plan and strategize for their business – or simply take a long break if they want.All these things are possible once you have a scalable CS system How To Build A Scalable CS System With 4E Scaling Principles At Atomatic, we help our clients to scale faster, easier and more consistently by helping them to build Scalable Systems using these 4E Scaling Principes.These 4E principles are especially useful for any dropshippers and eCom store owners who want to scale to 6-7 figure months.In this post, I will show you how you can use these principles to create a scalable CS team 4E stands for Effectiveness, Efficiency, Effortlessness & Exponentiality.EffectivenessWhen we talk about an effective CS system, the first thing that usually comes to mind is on reducing the number of tickets. Having zero backlogs. But a better sign of effectiveness would be the Case Length.Meaning how long it takes your CS team to resolve a ticket.An effective CS system is one with a short case length. Each ticket gets closed as soon as possible.If a person complains about her product and your CS takes 7 days to resolve it, that’s not a good system.If on average you all take 1-2 days to solve it, that’s a good CS system.If it takes less than 12 hours to solve it, it’s a GREAT System.So why do certain cases last for a whopping 7 days whereas others can get closed within the same day itself?That’s because most CS response emails lack what we call the “First Message Resolution”.They do not contain all the information the customer requires to solve his problem in one email. And the response has no human touch to it so it sounds robotic.The first message resolution is a set of proven structures we distilled after looking at tens of thousands of emails, that we help our clients integrate into their CS templates.While it’s common for dropshippers to already have CS templates in place, most templates aren’t comprehensive enough.Example: When you are replying to a query on tracking information, most CS team simply finds the tracking number, plugs it into the template and hit “send”.But a first message resolution template will foresee the next steps your customers have to take, and the problems they might face and include all the relevant information in one email.So instead of just getting the VA to send the tracking number, a first message resolution template highlights to your CS team to include the tracking information as a link to the logistics partner instead.Otherwise, you may get a response email with questions on how to use the tracking number.Another common mistake that most dropshippers do is that their customer service team gives “robotic” replies to the customer.By doing so, customers feel that you are not listening to them and get even angrier, emailing you more and more, and taking longer for the case to close.Leading to them escalating the case to PayPal and triggering a dispute.So how do we solve this?We help our clients to create an SOP that involves compiling a list of sentences to add to the emails so that the customers will feel that we understand them and are able to relate to them.We call these sentences “Empathy statements”.Some examples are:
- “If I am understanding correctly…”
- “I would feel [Emotion] too in that situation”
- “You’re right”
- “I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this…”
- “I’ve experienced this issue recently too”
After implementing this for our clients, the average email per customer went from 6, all the way down to 3. That means case length decreased by 50%. Not to mention, the number of emails the team has to deal with halved. This made it much easier for the team to close most tickets quickly and get to responding to other tickets faster. (And you get to skip hiring more VAs for customer service)PRO TIP: It’s possible to automate all these even further and more so that you can greatly reduce the case length even more. At our agency, we continuously optimize and improve this process so that our clients’ CS team can get more done without having to hire more people, which saves a lot of money. Make sure to put more effort into this and see your profits soar EfficiencyFor CS systems, efficiency is all about the speed of reply. How fast can your team respond to a ticket? Most dropshippers have 2 ways around this. One they hire more VAs to clear more tickets. Two, they get their team to use canned replies. But more can be done. In fact, we can actually have a system to automate a good portion of incoming tickets so the response rate can be under 2 hours. Here’s how we implement this for our clients: Using your CSR tool –First, analyze all your past queries and categorize them into tags/keywords – Up to 6 months’ worth of emails next, we then set up a system to trigger an email response template according to these keywords. For example Tag keywords like “delivery”, when a customer sends in a query regarding delivery issues. The keyword “delivery” automatically triggers an action to send a pre-templated email regarding common delivery issues and solutions. The same goes for products that are broken. Simply tag the keyword “broken”, and an email addressing returns and refunds will be automatically sent to the customer immediately. Also included in the template is a disclaimer that if the customer still has an unresolved query, they should reply to the same email. By doing this, we were able to reduce the tickets for our clients’ customer service team by over 80%. That’s 8 out of 10 emails completely automated. The team was then able to answer the other 20% of not-so-common queries in less than half of their usual response time. This not only allowed us to see a higher satisfaction rate from the customers, but it has also allowed us to have faster response time without hiring any extra manpower. Pro Tip: Continue to update this every single week so that more and more get automated. This is especially important when you scale. This is why we always get our team to help our clients to review this process every week. The ROI for doing this is EffortlessnessOnce you have built a scalable CS system, you can then hire more team members as needed as you scale even faster. But when you’re adding new members to the team, you want to ensure that the system is good enough so that you don’t spend a lot of time needed to train them or answer their questions over and over again. To ensure that all new hires get onboarded quickly so that they can provide high-quality CS, we help our clients to create a training system that turns these new hires into experienced CS team members fast. First, we set up a knowledge database on Google Sites. Then we fill up this database with as much information as possible. We include in all the FAQs, SOPs, information about the products your company is selling, special cases, etc. This is so that your new hires can “learn” on the job. You don’t have to set aside time to quiz them or get them up to speed. Instead, when they are resolving tickets and have any issues, they can simply refer to the knowledge database and get 90% of their issues resolved. So you or your project manager only have to deal with the remaining 10% which they are unsure of. Thus, you want to make sure your database is not only chock full of information and solutions, but that it is also easy to search, and is UPDATED frequently! For that, we set up a system where the project manager is able to compile and review all the 10% issues that required extra clarification and see how they can be included in the knowledge database. Some things that your PM will have to think through include:
- Are there any special cases or issues this week? How can I include them into the database so that if a VA faces a similar situation in the future, they won’t have to turn to me for clarification/approval?
- Is there any new product information to update?
- Any changes regarding how the company deals with payments, losses and refunds?
- How is the team using the database? Are they able to find the information they require fast, and easily? What can I do to make it more user-friendly for them?
With this system to constantly optimize and refine your knowledge database, you now have an asset in your business (the database) to turn new hires or temporary freelancers into experienced CS team members fast. Pro Tip: Having a great onboard and training system that allows you to “plug and play” new hires can save you a lot of time and energy. I’ve shared this in one of my previous posts. You can search for my name Trevor Lim to read it. ExponentialityWhen you are scaling up your business, you never know when a flood of tickets may bomb your business. One of our clients went from 500 tickets to 6000 tickets in a month when he scaled a winning product. Thankfully he had us putting in place systems and processes so he was able to continue scaling without worrying about poor customer feedback or unanswered tickets…But we have also heard of past horror stories from our clients where they end up having to put all ad campaigns on halt because they were getting so many tickets and bad feedback scores from customers who weren’t getting their products during peak season. While having systems and processes in place can help your team reply to tickets faster, and more than cut halves the tickets to process…There will always be situations where you need to hire for special cases or emergencies, especially when you scale. And if you don’t do it quick enough, you can get flooded with tickets even before you even really ramped upscaling. For building a superstar team of VAs at a fraction of the usual cost within a short period of time, we have created a S.A.R.V Hiring framework. This is meant for hiring long-term team members. Search for my name Trevor Lim in this group to read it. But if you are simply looking for temporary manpower, we have the S.S.A.R.R. checklist to hire great freelancers. At our agency, we help our clients with not only the hiring but also the management of freelancers. Because of that, we have a lot of opportunities to not only test and refine the hiring process, but also see what is the outcome of it after they get hired. And for a great freelancer, it boils down to these 5 criteria:S.S.A.R.R: Speed, Sharpness, Ability, Resourcefulness & ResponsivenessSpeed >> What is the turnaround time for this freelancer to deliver the work? How long will any additional edits take? Sharpness >> Is this freelancer a fast learner? Can he easily understand the requirements by reading the instructions and SOP? Ability >> How long has the freelancer been doing this? What is his level of skill and the quality of his work? Resourcefulness >> Since no training is provided, we are expecting the freelancer to be resourceful enough to ask the right questions and gather the right materials to get the job done. Responsiveness >> Is the freelancer responding to your messages in a timely manner? We want someone who is already sitting behind the computer and active. Now, this may seem like a lot to test for, especially when this is just for a temporary arrangement…And you simply don’t have the time to run 3-5 tests to test each criterion one by one…So here’s a way to test for all 5 criteria in one go. Using CS as an example:
- Provide the candidate with a test of 10 tickets and a part of your knowledge database that has these tickets solution
- Set a time frame. Give them 60 minutes and have them use time tracking software. See how long it took them to come up with the responses to all 10 tickets.
- Check to see if they used the appropriate template. Was the information they chose from the database the right one?
- You want to make 1-2 tickets in the test purposely hard to answer and that requires further clarification. Did the candidate approach you during the 60 minutes for guidance? Or did the candidate fluff out an answer?
With this simple test, you be able to test all 5 elements of the S.S.A.R.R framework at one go and swiftly hire suitable freelancers to aid in your scaling efforts===Hope you found this post useful!
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