The Best Customer Service Department Structure for High Performance

When it comes to your customer service department, structure is actually one of the most important factors to consider. The proper structure will enable your company to achieve optimal efficiency and effectiveness.

I talk a lot about different channels and mediums through which customer communications can be achieved. I favor a shift from call centers to more effective means of customer support. If call centers are a necessity for your company, I’ve spoken of some ways to make it a bit less ‘stone age.’
I am really pleased that companies have followed this advice; however, nobody’s addressing the importance of customer service department structure.  The way I see it, there are 3 factors that make up good customer service. You have your training, your communications and your structure; this is the third piece of the puzzle to get the ultimate in customer service.

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In analyzing structure, I am going to assume that you’ve taken to heart what I’ve been saying about adopting multiple channels of outreach and communication. There are many social and online customer service options to compliment your call center structure. Therefore, if I cover a structural element that’s not present in your customer service department, I suggest incorporating it.

In terms of support, the minimum is: a call center, two social network channels, a help desk, a forum (and if large enough, a CMS system). One of the most highly staffed departments is, of course, going to be the call center. 
The other is going to be social media. You should positively be using Twitter and Facebook. Depending on the size of your company, you should have  1-2 people -in a single workday- covering these channels.  One to research and respond to what people are saying about your company and the other to update content and write blog posts.

You need moderators for a crowd-sourced forum, one per shift for a 24/7 support setup. You need a help desk person staffed at all times or at least on- call during work hours.

So, now you have all your support staff organized, aside from the call center. Regarding call support, your phone tree needs to be simple; it should consist of 3 branches. Have a department for financial problems, one for technical issues, and a general issues department that can defer to the other two.

Customer service isn’t a complex department to set up. Keep your structure organized, simple and direct.  If you implement all forms of communication, including call staff, social media, forums and help desks, your company will be well on its way to success!

Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe