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You’ve Grown Exponentially. Now Customer Support Problems Are Piling Up. What Do You Do?

Achkan Chavoushi

If you’re a CX leader in a high-growth business, the title of this article will resonate with you. Success in sales and marketing initiatives leads to rapid expansion of the customer base, and before long, it can seem impossible to maintain the standards of customer service you started out with.

Of course, that’s a serious problem in the mid-to-long term — if the customer experience suffers, then churn increases and those impressive growth stats start to be chipped away. But profitability is business-critical too. So you need to figure out a way to stabilize CX — or ideally enhance it — without adding unnecessary costs.

Throwing more and more humans at the problem doesn’t scale well — the more agents you have, the more overheads, management costs, and quality issues you generate. Technological solutions are more cost-efficient, but you need to ensure you’re not just creating a virtual waiting room where customers get cycled through IVR menus, chatbots, and autoresponders before ending up in the same agent queue anyway — and feeling even more frustrated.

There’s a better way. In this article, we’ll look at rational, cost-effective strategies you can implement to ensure CX improves — even as your business grows at pace.

Precap: In this 5-minute read you’ll learn how to:

  • Increase headcount strategically and proactively
  • Make smart investments in CX technology
  • Use customer voice to drive quality assurance
  • Balance resource use to maximize long-term impact

Rational Headcount Growth

A classic CX error is reactive hiring. Customer tickets are building to an unmanageable peak, and agents are getting overwhelmed, so you onboard a few new team members to address the issue. The issue is that either the growth continues, and you have the same problem next quarter, or the peak subsides temporarily, and you’re overspending on staff or have to make layoffs. 

So how can you become proactive on headcount? The key is — as usual — in your data. You need to examine the content of your tickets and start tagging and categorizing them to split them up into separate, addressable buckets. Then you can identify the underlying causes of any bottlenecks. 

Maybe there’s an expertise issue — not enough agents are qualified to handle certain technical issues, for example. Or maybe it’s a lack of focus — having agents switching between 10 or 15 different types of tickets in one shift might add 20% to resolution times as they change systems or flip between processes.

Armed with that knowledge you can specialize. Instead of hiring three more entry-level agents, hire one specialist who can handle those highly-technical tickets by themself. Or restructure your team to ensure each agent is only working on one or two buckets — resulting in a more efficient workflow and more tickets cleared.

Investing in CX Technology

As we said above — even the most rational hiring model can’t scale infinitely. Bridging the gap means finding workflows that you can automate effectively to speed up resolution times while keeping customer satisfaction high. 

With the data you've gathered in the step above, you should have a clearer picture of where tasks could be automated, how much agent time this would save, and the impact that would have on your KPIs. Obvious candidates for automation include generating a first response to tickets, formulating replies with simple account information — and even the process of tagging, triaging, and routing inbound tickets itself.

You need to be smart about investing in tech to ensure you’re solving CX issues — not creating them. For example, a simple autoresponder will get first response times down, but does it move the ticket further toward resolution? No. Instead, consider an AI solution that can customize that response with the required information the customer asked for, and in many cases resolve the ticket in one touch.

Going a step further, incorporating machine learning into the mix can allow fully automated routing and prioritization — defecting easily solvable queries completely, delivering more complex tickets to specialist agents complete with valuable insights and background information, and escalating high-risk issues to second-line support so they can be resolved before they impact CSAT or churn.

And with technology shouldering much of the burden of repetitive and routine work there’s far more scope for agent specialization and redeployment — as we discussed in the previous step.

Ensuring Quality 

As you implement new technological initiatives and adapt your staffing strategy, you need a robust and continuous quality assurance process in place to assess if your changes are working effectively and identify further areas for improvement. The key driver here has to be the voice of the customer — if they don’t think you’re doing a great job, you’re not.

That means regularly monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction metrics, and using data analytics to pinpoint where the changes you’ve made have impacted key numbers such as CSAT or NPS — either positively or negatively. 

But to really understand customer thinking in real-time — not just look at outcomes, you need to dig deeper, parsing and interpreting the content of customer conversations to extract useful insights. It’s a huge undertaking if you approach it manually, but as we discussed above there are AI solutions that can do this effectively — however large your dataset becomes.

Once you have that data, you can adapt your strategies to better serve customer needs and even anticipate their responses and behaviors — allowing your team to work proactively — addressing probable issues early to avoid a later influx of tickets.

Balancing Costs and CX Investment

As we’ve discussed — while implementing these strategies, cost optimization has to be top-of-mind. But there’s a difference between CX spending and CX investment. To ensure that your department can secure the resources you need to continue to enhance the customer experience as you grow, you need to be able to present a solid business case to senior leadership — whether that’s for a strategic hire or a new software solution.

The data and insights you’ve gathered in the steps above are the vital ingredients here — allowing you to draw a clear causal link between CX operations and wider business objectives. For example, if you have the data to prove that further investment in automation will directly impact CSAT, and that will increase customer lifetime value, it’s easier to make the case for investment.

It’s crucial to demonstrate the long-term value and ROI of CX spending so that at a leadership level, your department is viewed not as a cost center, but as a reliable investment target that delivers substantial returns. 

Once you can show the value you’re adding across the business, you can build closer working relationships with other department heads — and make a compelling case for them to contribute a portion of their own budgets to further CX initiatives which will directly impact their success. 


To strike the right balance between improving the customer experience as your business grows, and controlling costs to remain profitable, there are three main areas in which CX leaders need to act. 

  • Taking a strategic approach to hiring allows you to work more effectively with the budget and headcount you have available. 
  • Making investments in AI and machine learning technology delivers new insights and optimizes workflows while scaling effortlessly. 
  • Building collaborative relationships across the business enables you to share costs and align CX with company-wide objectives.

If you can get this balance right, you can enhance, not just maintain, the quality of your customer experience as you scale — and reach a point where your CX function is actively helping to drive growth, rather than struggling to keep up.

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