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What works for six people can become a mess when applied to 60, 600 or 6,000. From the technology you use, the people you employ and the business processes you set in motion, everything has to be scalable.

This is particularly true in customer service; a rapidly growing business with a stagnant customer service team can become a nightmare scenario. To offer a truly personalised experience, businesses need to think beyond the physical size of their business and instead look to the anatomical structure, culture and ethos inside their organisation. Ask yourself this; is your business ready to provide a scalable service? Are employees on-board and fully educated about the benefits of a scalable workplace?

If you’re unsure on either of the above take a look at our top tips below for advice and best practice when scaling your business.

Create the right ethos through comprehensive training

Training is one of the main differentiating factors between service businesses that are scalable and those that are not. To grow and adapt, everyone needs to understand the business inside-out, and the only way to do this is through consistent, measurable training methods and strong ongoing leadership.

You need to design a comprehensive training programme, so that everyone starts with the same goals and methods in mind – and this must include how best to record information in your CRM system.

Make sure you’re hiring the right people (at the right time)

The first mistake businesses make is hiring too many people too quickly – hiring is only one part of scaling your business.

Establish a benchmark for the average number of cases your current team can handle and compare that to the growth of your customer base. Once you’ve decided how many new agents to take on, you need to think about standardising your hiring process. Creating a score sheet with a must-have list of technical capabilities, team fit and past experiences is a good way to achieve this.

Achieve the right level of structural “flatness”

It’s tricky to achieve the right balance in organisational structure but this is essential for making your business scalable. Place too much responsibility on the shoulders of a super-stressed few and everything becomes frenzied, but spread responsibility out too thinly and things get equally messy.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for achieving the right level of structural flatness but it’s important to experiment with approaches to keep your employees constantly challenged and engaged in their work.

Find ways to automate processes

If you have the right technology, you can make small adjustments to your workflows that save time and money. Similar to how automated robotic processes made the production of cars more scalable, automatic processes in sales and customer service can improve your efficiency dramatically.

Our Salesforce integration for example automates the outbound calling process, making agents more time efficient. Inbound calls are routed to the most appropriate agent, ensuring better agent and caller satisfaction.

Embrace mobile technology and remote working

With the rise of mobile technology and cloud-based SaaS, there’s no need to tie your team to their desks. Customer service agents can work from home and sales representatives can work on-the-go. It’s got to the point where putting too much emphasis on the physical office is becoming more than unnecessary, it’s getting impractical.

Employing remote workers allows your business to become more scalable, as you can expand without the costs of a bigger office and improve efficiency, as less time during the day is wasted traveling.

And with cloud services like ContactWorld, there’s still real-time visibility to give you a picture of what your agents are doing. Plus, there are remote management tools, enabling you to manage agents across the country as if they were in the same room.

No business is ever ‘complete’

Even when you think you’ve climbed to the top, there’s still room for improvement - no business, however developed, is ever ‘complete’. To scale your business successfully, set aside time to listen to your employees and your customers.

Whatever stage your business is at, you need to understand what your customers want and why, and more importantly be prepared to make these changes – however big they might be!

What do you think is most important when trying to make a sales or service team scalable? Share your thoughts below.

Image by Phillie Casablanca

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About Tim Pickard

Tim joined NewVoiceMedia in July 2011 with over 20 years' experience as a leader in the IT industry. He served as VP and board member of RSA Security's international business for seven years where he ran marketing in EMEA, Asia Pacific and Japan. He spent two years as Chief Marketing Officer for SaaS/Cloud-based email management provider Mimecast.

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