The 7 Steps to Scaling Customer Service During Busy Seasons
Adapting customer service coverage during peak or holiday season fluctuations is challenging to maintain. If you have a strategy in place, it’s easier to scale and manage those high traffic needs, especially if you have product issues which require hands-on customer care, holiday spikes, or even staff turnover. Supporting your service teams during periods of increased or decreased productivity makes all the difference in revenue generation and healthy business growth. Be better prepared to handle any situation with the right planning, as outlined below.
1. Plan Ahead for Fluctuations
Well before seasonal fluctuations arise, start strategizing the expected increase in call fluctuations. Give yourself at least a three-month window to develop a solid plan. Start with data and insights from the same period over the last few years. Identify trends over the same time, if there are any. Track your projections for this year, and decide whether you need to hire more agents or add temporary customer support through the fluctuation period. All this information provides you with a foundation to prepare accordingly.
2. Review Your Technology
Next, look at your tech stack. Prepare your software and systems to support the ups and downs of demand and supply. Consider purchasing new products that make things easier on your customer service agents and your internal staff. Think about how you can implement these upgrades in time to make a difference for your teams and your bottom line.
3. Determine Staffing Needs
Give yourself time to hire and train new full-time or temporary workers. Look at schedules to map out assignments in advance, so you can cover vacations and holidays. As you train, empower your staff with the authority to handle situations on their own. The more your staff is allowed to handle difficult customers themselves, the faster issues get resolved for your customers.
Supporting your service teams during periods of increased or decreased productivity makes all the difference in revenue generation and healthy business growth. Click To Tweet
4. Content Updates
Create policies and procedures to address customer issues before agents engage with disgruntled customers. Be clear about those guidelines on your website and in your communications. Update your social channels, return policies or terms and conditions if necessary. Check your content library to see if there are pieces you can resurrect or update to address recurring issues. Feature this refreshed content on social, in email campaigns or highlight on the front page of your website to bring awareness to common issues customers can solve themselves. This relieves some of the strain on your customer service team.
5. Inspire Your Teams
Keep your agents motivated to press on through long days of high-volume calls. If they don’t already, give them the option to work from home or create a methodology to reward or inspire with paid time off. Offer bonuses or start a raffle with great prizes related to specific productivity goals. Pay for overtime. Happy employees and contractors enjoy their jobs more, creating a better workplace environment and increased performance.
6. Empower Your Customers
While you are empowering your staff, consider empowering your customers. Offer self-service options on your website or mobile app. For example, give customers the opportunity to utilize chat functionality before speaking to a live agent. Often, customers are most interested in a quick resolution. If they have easy access to information which enables them to handle it themselves, they will. When launching products or heading into a busy season, create a priority response team to handle hot button or time sensitive issues.
Planning ahead for contact center fluctuations gives you the opportunity to get ahead of any issues and ensure that you continue to offer seamless service to your important customers. Build in ways to adapt, so you can be flexible with your support to both your teams and consumers. If you have a strong foundation and are nimble to adjust as needed, you’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way.
7. Outsource Your Customer Service Staff
How you prepare and respond to your customers during seasonal sales spikes will affect the health of your business. Outsourcing your additional customer service needs is a great option to better manage these peak and holiday season fluctuations. Partnering with an outsourcer keeps you from hiring and managing employees. Your partner will instead manage all staffing, training/educating, and accounting needs.
Working Solutions’ outsourced and on-demand solutions allow you to better engage, empathize, and delight your customers, by fulfilling your company and customer demands across all channels, whenever and wherever they interact with your brand.
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