Having a dedicated team of Customer Service Representatives (CSR) will go far in helping improve your ability to provide reliable support services to your customers. No matter the experience and expertise of those working your cloud help desk, your customer satisfaction ratings will be low if you’re unable to properly manage their support work items. A CSR can do that, as well as much more, freeing you up to focus your efforts on other issues.

How Many Clients Can One CSR Handle?
Your first step in presenting the idea for the need for a CSR team to your executive leadership is to develop a realistic baseline ratio regarding the number of customer each CSR can oversee. Striking the delicate balance between staffing requirements and effectively meeting customer needs is a fluid process. Therefore, it should always be in the back of your mind that what you start out with is rarely what you’ll need to maintain over the long-term.

During the initial phase of a new deployment, your customer and CSR will typically have to collaborate more while the customary acclimation issues run their course. Yet as your services become more integrated with a customer’s operations, your CSR will be left with more time to assist other clients. Keep this in mind as you’re developing your initial expectations.

Your argument for the need for a CSM team will be bolstered if you agree to establish its success based upon client revenue renewal and growth rather than complete customer coverage. Such a model essentially limits your CSRs to simply fixing problems rather than adding value.

Considering Customer Types
In developing your ideal customer-to-CSM mix, consider the categories that your customers fall into. These can include:
• Strategic
• Enterprise
• Corporate
• SMB (Small and Medium Business)

Your strategic customers should be assigned the highest priority due to the potential strategic relationship or current and future revenue thresholds that they present. Due to the fact that they will typically require the most attention, you shouldn’t assign more than 25 of such customers to a single CSR.

Enterprise customers (also referred to as “High Priority”) are those that meet certain revenue criteria that make them valuable to your company. A good CSR can usually manage between 30 to 50 of these clients.

Your corporate and SMB clients represent your foundational customers. They may not offer the same strategic value or potential for revenue, but they’ll comprise most of your customer base. The support service that they require may not even necessitate a CSR being assigned to them, but rather the development of their own self-services that your CSR can occasionally monitor.

Growing Your Team with Your Company
Aside from the types of customers that you serve, you’ll also want to consider their locations. While a CSR may be able to support a customer remotely, high-value clients will typically require that their services by localized. Thus, as your company grows, the deployment of your CSR team must also expand with it.

This leads to the issue of managing your team. As was stated earlier, your expectations for your CSM team should evolve over time. With those changes comes the need to develop a leadership structure to support your team in the field. That will likely begin with a Director or VP and eventually grow into regional managers and team leads.

Establishing a baseline ratio for customers-to-CSRs isn’t easy, nor is ensuring that your CSRs have all the tools at their disposal to meet customer needs. However, you’re not without help in this endeavor. Implementing a quality help desk software solution can help to empower your CSRs to be able to develop lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships between your customers and your company.