Running a support team is hard. Sooner or later you’re bound to run into problems.
For example, back when I was a Support QA Specialist at Pipedrive, there was a time when we noticed that many of our agents were really struggling to hit their targets (like FRTs, median response times, etc.), while a few managed to meet them quite comfortably, while still maintaining quality. How were they doing it?
This left us looking for a way to get our lowest-performing reps to hit response time targets without sacrificing other metrics such as volume and CSAT.
Instead of gathering all our higher-ups in a meeting room to try and come up with something that might work, we went with a different approach — Identifying our superstar agents AKA our Bettys, who were hitting their targets consistently and using their expertise to help raise the rest of the team to their level.
It worked like an absolute charm. And chances are it’d work pretty well for you too!
So I thought I’d shed some more light on the topic by drawing from my own experience, along with insights from Jeff Toister to help you do the same!
Who is Betty?
Let’s hear it straight from Jeff.
“Bettys are the top-performing support agents in your team that always go above and beyond. They care deeply about doing a good job and are always looking for ways to improve.
They’re usually extremely eager to share what they know and would likely get frustrated if they don’t get the chance to do so.”
Now, you’re probably wondering where the name Betty comes from.
Well, this post was inspired by a great piece written by the aforementioned Jeff on how he found his superstar agent. And the name of the first agent to help him discover this concept happened to be Betty. So it only made sense for us to pay tribute to her and run with it!
Identifying Your Betty
Every organization has its Bettys. Finding them is actually a lot easier than you’d think.
Very often, they’ll come right up to you with their solution. But for this, you’ll need to ensure that your organizational structure encourages two things — independent thinking and sharing of those ideas.
Giving your support agents a fair bit of autonomy is a great start. It’s equally important, though, that you provide opportunities for all employees to share their knowledge. If not, you’ll miss the chance to recognize people with the potential to discover fresh solutions to tough problems.
Get your agents to actively share their ideas in team meetings and 1-to-1s. And back this up with real action to show them that their feedback matters. This is an excellent way of further encouraging them to share things with you more proactively.
Another way to find your Bettys is by going through reports to identify top performers.
For example at Pipedrive, we kept a close eye on all our main customer support metrics to help identify the agents that stood out. We didn’t just focus on one metric but instead looked for support reps who were able to balance out their performance across targets.
To find your Bettys, look out for agents who consistently hit their goals and perform at the very top of their game, week in, week out.
How can you make use of Betty’s insights?
Finding your Bettys is one thing. Now you’ll need to get the most out of their knowledge and potential.
While every problem requires a different approach, here’s what we did at Pipedrive to try and solve the problem we discussed earlier, i.e. helping our lowest-performing reps improve.
Once we identified our top performers, we wanted to understand the routine and process they followed that allowed them to outperform other agents when it came to response times.
For this, we simply sat with them and watched how they work. When we couldn’t all be at the office at the same time, the agents would share their screens so that we could ‘shadow’ them through Zoom.
We tried to learn everything about their working style, like:
- Their routine when they first opened Intercom (which we were using) for the day
- How they cleared their inboxes in the morning and at the end of their shifts
- How they looked for information to resolve issues faster
- How they handled multiple live chats at once
- The order in which they responded to tickets
Basically, we detailed every aspect of how these support reps were able to hit all of their targets, while looking for any other insights that would help the support reps who were struggling.
Once we were able to establish patterns, we built and delivered training based on our findings.
Apart from providing training to support reps who were struggling, we also scheduled time for them to shadow the agents who were doing well. Quite often, agents find it easier to learn from each other rather than a more typical top-down approach.
So what was the end result?
We saw a significant improvement in overall response times. Plus we uncovered a few internal processes that needed improvement, like how we handled the surge in tickets that resulted from incidents with the software. So all in all, a huge success! Use the ‘Betty approach’ to train all of your agents for success.
Time to start looking for your Bettys
Hopefully, this article has served as inspiration for you to go and find your Bettys (if you haven’t already). While also providing you with a solid framework to identify and get the most out of them.
We’d also like to thank Jeff for being so gracious with his time and helping us compile this article.
We’d love to know if you’ve used any of these tactics to find your Bettys, and how it worked out for you. Let us know in the Quality Tribe!