Why you need team planning software while you’re still small

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Written by:
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Natasha Ratanshi-Stein , Founder & CEO

Running a small business is exciting. It’s also tough. You have to juggle managing hiring, competition, sales and marketing, new customers, marketing, and operations. You’re on the journey to expanding your company. So growth strategies might be your priority.

Here’s where we should warn you. Focusing solely on growth can lead to an unintentional decline in the quality of your customer service. Having new customers is fantastic. But they’ll need assistance from your surfers (🏄 that’s what we call customer service team members). And if you don’t pay attention to servicing them, you’ll have a leaky bucket.

Too many customers and not enough surfers will mean your team is overworked. That means bad customer service. Put this together with manual processes and you’ll find yourself using sellotape to mask emerging issues until it falls apart.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. There is a solution for this.

Being small presents a unique opportunity to do things right from the get-go. If you build a strong foundation for excellent customer service, you will avert future crises. Why not ensure that your company is built on best practices from the start? Some bigger companies struggle to fix this retroactively. Usually the creeping increase of a email backlog or longer than expected phone wait times will be the first indicator you need something in place.

Team planning software (we don’t like the term ‘workforce management software’ 🙅‍♀️) can be a huge help while you’re still small. Here are the crucial reasons why:

Breaking point

A recent study conducted by Salesforce revealed that surfer dissatisfaction is at an all-time high. 71% of surveyed surfers have reportedly considered quitting their jobs. Four-fifths of surfers’ and managers’ concerns were due to burnout in the workplace.

Why is this happening?

Poor planning prevents great customer service

Without team planning software, it is impossible to know how many surfers you’ll need at any given moment. Because of budgetary concerns in the early days, too few surfers might be working particular hours. Under-populating a busy shift can be extremely taxing to those surfers.

Managers need to know when and where people are needed. This can prove to be a challenge when done alone. It can feel like managers need a statistics degree when looking at all the spreadsheets needed to do the job efficiently. This stuff is complicated. A busy Thursday at twelve o’clock doesn’t mean a busy Friday at twelve o’clock. So how are they supposed to know when to put who where?

Enter simpler, smarter and fairer software

Team planning software removes all the guesswork managers might think they need. Surfboard’s simple but powerful forecasting tool works to make sure managers are never taken by surprise again. Using historical data from your customer service platform, the forecasting tool lets you know exactly when to expect tickets. It also tells you how many surfers will be needed to deal with them.

From there, Surfboard recommends fair shift plans that ensure enough surfers working at all times. They’re also fully tweakable, so you can make shifts that suit your exact needs.

Create a happy, sustainable workplace

Surfer happiness is important to us. It is a central ingredient to great customer service.

We often see claims that ‘a happy workforce is a productive workforce’. We prefer to say that ‘a happy team means happy customers.’ And happy customers will be the best success your growing company can have.

On top of that, team consistency is vitally important when creating your business. You don’t want your trusted surfers leaving you.

Ensuring that your surfers are happy with fair shifts and fair treatment will prevent them from looking elsewhere for meaningful work. But you can also take surfer value to the next level. For them and for you.

Invest in training and development

Employee learning and development is an often-overlooked process when starting a company. Acquiring new skills and knowledge is important for the surfer’s role as the first point of contact between your customers and your product. Highly skilled surfers who can solve problems efficiently will have a considerable effect on your brand image.

Additionally, the 2018 LinkedIn Workplace Learning and Development report showed that 93 percent of employees who received development training were more likely to stay at the same company for longer.

The lesson here is clear. If you value your surfers, they will give value back to you. But what does this have to do with team planning software?

Schedule time for non-inbound tasks

At Surfboard, we want you to be able to upskill your surfers without affecting their ability to assist customers.

Enter our 20% Time feature. Using our forecasting software, we predict when your ticketing volume will be at its lowest within particular shifts. Based on that, we suggest time that can be used productively to improve surfer happiness and keep their roles stimulating. You can use 20% time for:

  • Technical training so that surfers will know your product inside-out
  • Soft skills development like adaptability and creativity
  • Management and leadership development for surfers that show potential for role succession
  • Administrative catch-up
  • Team-building

Everyone who we work with that uses 20% Time loves the feature. They say that it improves team morale and keeps surfers engaged with their work.

The early bird

You should get on top of your customer service needs before your growth accelerates too quickly for you to catch up. Try Surfboard’s team planning software today. To request a demo, get in touch at natasha@teamsurfboard.com