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How to Balance Agent Growth with Relentless Productivity

Guest

Ashley Sachs, Director of Support and Success at Whereby

Leadership is always a tough, but rewarding gig. And that’s especially true for high-EQ teams like customer support. How do you help your agents grow on a personal and professional level? How do you make space for that growth when your team is fully remote?

And perhaps most importantly, how do you balance fostering that culture of growth with the daily demands and aggressive goals of a support team?

In this episode, Ashley Sachs, Director of Support and Success at Whereby, shares her process for doing exactly that. With a little inspiration from Ted Lasso, Ashley reveals how she manages that delicate balance, how she helps agents discover their “spark,” and how a culture of growth empowers her team to crush their KPIs.

7 ways to promote a culture of growth on your customer support team

1. Start growth conversations early. For Ashley, the growth conversation starts during the recruiting process. In interviews, she asks candidates what growth looks like for them. Is it moving into a support leadership role? Or simply getting exposed to a new business or career path? Growth means something different to everyone, and Ashley tries to zero in early on what it means for each individual.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions. Ashley has found success in directly asking her agents how they like to be managed, what kinds of projects like they to work on when they’re not in the queue, what they hope to get out of their time at Whereby, etc. When you take the guesswork out, and make space for honest conversations, the path to growth is much faster.

3. Set up a peer review QA process. At Whereby, QA involves a peer review process, which Ashley says makes everybody more comfortable with feedback and makes “learning from each other part of our DNA.”

4. Involve the whole team in new hire onboarding. Throughout Whereby’s 10-14 day onboarding process, Ashley and other support leaders check in with the new agents to see how training is going. At the end of an onboarding, Ashley takes about 15 minutes during her regular all-team meetings to discuss how the onboarding went, what can be improved, etc.

5. As the company grows, formalize a clear path of growth. Within Whereby’s support team, there is a clear career path: support specialist, senior support specialist, lead. Each tier has different ratios of queue time and project time, with support specialists starting at about a 90:10 split. Ashley also facilitates “bridge work,” or specific projects that will help agents move up to the next level.

6. Never cancel your 1:1s. Ashley does 1:1s with her team every other week. On off weeks, she uses a tool called 15Five that sends her agents an email with 3-4 questions. Questions vary depending on the recipient’s role, but generally include questions like: What did you do the past two weeks, and what were you proud of? What do you want to work on for the next two weeks? Where do you feel blocked, and how can I help?

7. Dial in to what sparks your team members. After an agent finishes a project, Ashley asks them, “How did you feel about this project? Did it feel like a lot of work or did it excite you?” If it excited them, she tries to find opportunities for them to do more of that type of work.

Watch or listen to Ashley’s full episode above to learn more! And don’t forget to rate Beyond the Queue on Apple Podcasts. ⭐