With schools back in session, and students, residents, and business people back from vacation it’s a busy time of year for everyone. As a customer support team for market owners, restaurant owners, and consumers, we deal with a lot of stress from all sides. One of the huge values of opening a franchise rather than starting a new business is having a support team behind you. Through funneling customer and restaurant stress through our corporate team, our online franchise owners can focus on what they do best: growing their business.
Here’s how we manage our own stress—and more importantly, the stress levels of everyone who asks us for help. While these are specific methods we use with support, they can be used in any stressful situation.
Listen. A typical call usually starts with one of our callers rushing through their problems. Sometimes they are just pressed for time and others, they are annoyed at something and directing their frustration at the agent who is handling their ticket. Even with our most stressed-out callers, we find that we can lower stress by listening without interrupting, and showing them that we really understand their issues. This sounds simple, however it’s quite difficult—especially when you’re faced with callers who are so stressed out they are angry. We put a lot of time into training agents on how to be effective listeners and really getting to the root of what our callers want.
Be there before something goes wrong. We understand that issues are going to come up and there is no avoiding them. We also understand the importance of being one step ahead of those issues. This means being aware of high-volume times for each market, knowing what promotions are running, and communicating with internal and external departments to ensure that we’re always aware of issues as soon as they arise. Constantly being one step ahead helps us resolve issues more quickly.
Prep your people. Beyond our initial training, we often review tickets with our agents to ensure that they’re learning from the issues that arise on a daily basis. For example, when a restaurant owner calls in several times for the same issue we look deeper into the ticket to see what areas were missed and turn it into a training tool for all our agents to learn from. We’re constantly looking for ways to prepare agents on how to handle specific tickets that they might encounter. This helps make each issue less stressful for our agents, and thus less stressful for our callers.
Go above and beyond. Each agent understands that they have the ability to make an impact on the level of service we provide for our callers. Agents are trained to look outside the box and go above and beyond when they feel it’s necessary in order to provide the support that the caller is looking for. For example, when a restaurant calls in feeling frazzled because they lost power and they don’t know how many orders they missed, the agent knows to take their time and ensure that all orders are accounted for. Having a support agent to help them through this stressful event makes the restaurant owners feel more secure that their customers and business are being taken care of.
Know when to escalate. We ensure that there is a very clear line of communication between agents and supervisors. Agents understand that we want them to notify management about any tickets that they feel were not resolved with the caller being satisfied. We would rather be one step ahead and try to resolve the situation as quickly as possible before the caller reaches out to someone else, like the market owner. Agents understand that it’s their job to provide good service and if they feel like there is even a slight issue with the call, it gets escalated for further follow up. When agents know they’re not alone, and they have someone to help them resolve tough issues, that can lower stress for everyone.
Provide support for your support staff. Since we are a remote help desk, with staff all over the country, it’s incredibly important for our agents to be a close team. It’s always been our goal to not have a ‘remote’ feel and instead have a close working connection with our agents. This helps our agents feel that their performance has a great impact on the company. Supporting our staff not only means being there for questions but also providing a forum for them to provide feedback, air concerns and know that management is hearing their voice. Our agents are the backbone of our help desk. We need to support them in order for them to help our company succeed. When our agents feel supported, they’re less stressed, and thus more able to stay calm when callers are stressed.
Never rush support. Our agents are trained to relate to callers and to structure their tickets a specific way in order to get the information they need. We know that each caller is an individual and that’s how we treat them. Agents are never pressured to rush through their tickets and instead, are pressured to provide consistent outstanding customer support. There’s nothing more stressful for both our agent and the person calling for help than feeling rushed. This way, each agent and each caller knows they have the time they need to resolve the issue.
The best part about our support team is that we handle many stressed out restaurant owners and customers before they even get to the market owner level. That makes owning an OrderUp online franchise a much less stressful kind of entrepreneurship. And who doesn’t want less stress?