Agile Support: Principles, Tips, And Best Practices
Updated: Aug 15, 2022
Using the Agile Support to Help Deliver Better Customer Service
Is it possible to develop a team culture that manages to provide value to your customers in a situation with limited resources? Of course! Agile principles and methodologies might become a silver bullet for support teams and help them meet the clients' needs promptly and with care.
Team of Agile teams begins small and moves fast, gathering and incorporating reviews to strengthen their way to better and bigger solutions as soon as possible. Be it sales, support, or software engineering. Agile principles can boost the performance of your team and result in focusing on the user's requirements.
Adopting the agile principles usually integrated into companies allows even a small support team to concentrate on providing big value to their customers. Instead of simply following certain procedures and using business hierarchy to solve problems, principled agility enables companies to scale their support processes and handle more operations per day.
Incorporating this framework into your service makes your team more solution-oriented, fast, and autonomous, so it can instantly solve customer issues in a way that fits them best without any influence on the team's productivity or morale.
Strong customer service teams put the client's needs at the heart of everything, starting from the operations they deal with to the programs they opt for. Weaving the needs of your customers and listening to them carefully is the only key to delivering the top-notch customer support experience they look for.
The 9 Agile principles you should take into account.
An agile team is a strong team? Why and how to incorporate agility into your culture? Let's consider some of the most important principles for support teams that have originated from agile software.
Meet your customer needs with early and systemic agile support.
Your customer support team is to solve customer requests as promptly as possible at any stage of the client journey. For example, you can use different proactive messages to assist your new website visitors with quick answers they are looking for at the same time reducing the repetitive queries forwarded to your team. As a result, it spares more time for your reps to deal with more complex and valuable queries that need human intervention.
To constantly provide the necessary level of customer support, always reference the previous communication with a client, for example, any tags or notes from your history conversations. This gives you an opportunity to get a bigger picture of the current situation before you answer the request and deliver faster and better support.
For instance, if you notice that a certain person has recently faced multiple bugs in your software, review your conversation history to get a full context of the situation before replying to the request. It's essential to keep a human approach and empathize with customers who haven't had the greatest experience with your product. People usually just wish to feel that they have been heard and that the company holds itself accountable for the errors that arise when they arise.
Accept the change of product to provide enhanced agile support for your clients.
Agile team methodology encourages companies to adapt to changes instead of simply acting according to the protocol. When your development team is agile, they are likely to be fast-moving, meaning regular improvements to your products and adding or removing some features. It means that some support materials might quickly become obsolete or inaccurate.
That's why the support team should stay abreast of the possible product developments. Invite your colleagues for product sprint reviews so that they receive the latest info on the upcoming updates to your product. By staying informed of the features to be implemented, the support reps can communicate such updates directly to the customers who reach out to them and provide a more personal customer support experience.
Be it the FAQ section on your website, live chat response or any article in your knowledge base; support team members should be encouraged to update inaccurate data or omissions in all the support materials rather than wait for someone else to do it.
Product, developers, and agile support must go together.
Cooperation is one of the most crucial agile principles. We highly recommend sharing clients' reviews with your development team and relying on them when it comes to making the proper decisions for your clients when implementing new functionality with regard to such feedback.
Using tags in conversations is a simple but efficient method of sharing direct feedback from clients to your development team and highlighting popular feature requests and options of innovations.
The project manager, project team, developers, and designers then discuss such feedback and think over the best solutions to the customer's underlying issue. Your support team should trust your product team's ability to find a balance between pleasing the customers' expectations and maintaining your company on track by spotting the necessary features to ship and developing the right business strategy.
Build your agile team with highly motivated people.
Hiring motivated employees who are concentrated on resolving issues is the very first part of developing a first-class support team. Try to stick to the transparent and thorough hiring process. For example, let your candidates talk to the multiple people of your team (from the HR department member to the CEO) to check if they fit your company's principles and vice versa.
When your Agile team is full-packed, provide them with the freedom to prioritize and solve customer requests without regard to a rigid hierarchy. Encourage your team to decide on their own and approach customers' issues in a way that fits them best while sticking to your company values:
Stay the solution – drive collaboration, take ownership,
Stay resourceful – look for new wins all the time
Stay honest – encourage transparency
Stay respectful – act with others in the same way you wish they act with you
Letting your team stay creative and keep accountable for their actions empowers them and can boost team performance and morale.
Support your agile team with regular face-to-face meetings.
A face-to-face conversation is another key of Agile for support teams. Due to the pandemic, there isn't much personal communication between team members. With this in mind, try using video calls for regular meetings, mentoring your colleagues, and building your team relationships and morale while remote.
The process of work, everyday rituals, and automation tools have been influenced by going for remote working. That's why it's crucial more than ever before to make systematic check-ins with the team members in order to manage their dynamics and performance.
In addition, enacting virtual office hours can help make this virtual face-to-face communication smooth when different teams are apart. For instance, try communicating beyond simple emails by using GIFs, video chat, live chat, and so on to strengthen connections when apart.
For team agility, solved issues are the main indicator of progress.
Usually, the average response time, CSAT, and the amount of time to close are the main indicators for the evaluation of the support agent's performance. However, the importance of support processes isn't about hard figures only. With regard to agile team principles, it's also about checking the metrics that foster meaningful experience for your clients and resulting in advocacy, retention, and loyalty.
Basically, the number of resolved tickets is the major measure of performance. Achieving an effective reply is sometimes even better than an appealing long-term option. With this in mind, try different approaches to client requests until you identify the relevant solution for the query at hand. Using proactive and self-serve customer support is a real deal for your team because the members can leverage opportunities for better processes or create first-class support materials to lessen the volume of conversations and improve client satisfaction.
Making things simple is required for agile support.
Automation is a synonym for team agility. Here comes the principle to automate where it's possible and prioritize otherwise. Your support agents should recognize which customers and partners are of the top priority and in what cases to escalate requests. Realizing the context of client requests will help you to spot the relevant moments in your client journey when carrying out automation will increase the amount of work that doesn't require human interaction.
By solving easy and repetitive questions with high-quality support materials and automated bots while escalating more complicated requests to the relevant support agent, you will free up your team's time and make sure they are dealing with issues that matter for your business.
Automated chatbots can close everything from simple pricing questions to new features requests. They can even gather the information necessary to escalate and quickly solve a bug.
Self-organizing and collaborative agile teams create better solutions.
According to agile team methodology, the most effective requirements, designs, and architectures arise from self-organizing groups. Self-organizing Agile teams are authorized to come up with their own solutions and co-operate with employees outside of their group to make more meaningful decisions. Collaboration with people at different levels in your company reveals a broader range of perspectives and keeps the team more creative and in developing scalable solutions to boost customer satisfaction.
Besides providing superior service, self-organizing groups help foster stronger connections within the organization. For example, in a traditional company, where a person can only speak to the manager or co-operate with the development team via tickets, building personal relationships turns out to be a challenging task.
You can assist your customer team in developing connections in the broader company by advancing working introductions and sharing necessary tools. Such simplified communication facilitates triaging customer queries prior to contacting other groups to solve them effectively. For instance, if one client faces a payment processing issue in your program or app and another client gets an incorrect email from your platform, you will be able to promptly decide which query needs escalation first. Then, tag your developers directly in tickets to keep them aware of the issue context of an issue before speaking with them. However, in this case, you can also go to your engineers directly and get the most priority issue resolved as fast as possible.
We strongly believe that leveraging a less rigid structure of your support team and developing cross-functional connections is crucial for the company's success, especially when people are often working remotely.
Agile team efficiency depends on reflection.
Another crucial component of agile principles is the retrospective. To put it simply, this is the assessment meeting where you discuss what was well, what could have been better, what you will try next, and whether employees have other questions. Such an approach helps your colleagues to stop what lessons you have learned and settle the insights on how to better the support experience quality.
Incremental developments will let you go further with your team faster, and each employee – be it a newly hired or an experienced colleague – can share valuable eye-opener and relevant information to improve the support processes and enhance your client experience.
How to implement agile methodology principles to cultivate an agile team mindset?
Implementing the agile methodology for the support team can help your company keep the focus on your clients requirements while making your team members more innovative and independent in their perspective of problem-solving.
Fostering the agile mindset will invite your support reps to constantly ameliorate the support workflow, provide better solutions for customers in a more efficient way, and provide continuously personalized and valuable experience – even as your company scales.