Four years ago, we reported that Americans would spend a forecasted $600 billion during the 2014 holiday season. In 2018, that number has skyrocketed to a massive $1.1 trillion, according to data from Deloitte, which is more than a quarter of annual retail sales.
Of course, greater retail sales inevitably lead to higher call volume in the contact center. The best outsourcing partners go to the ends of the earth to prepare for these massive peak season holiday spikes and will not only need to address a sustained customer experience but also team morale, agent stress, and absenteeism.
Here are some key tactics for coping with holiday spikes in the contact center.
If you’re offering unique holiday products, services, or sales, communication is key – and it should flow through every corner of your organization. Your contact center should be collaborating closely with your marketing, sales, and distribution teams, with real-time communication so your team can adjust accordingly. That may mean adding more muscle to your frontlines as they respond to problems originating in the warehouse, or perhaps doing on-demand training to help agents cope with holiday-specific issues. Any other changes – such as adjusted priorities or extended hours of operation – should likewise be communicated early and thoroughly.
The holidays can be stressful – and not just because of the retail madness, traveling frenzy, and family feuds. Life for your frontline agents will inevitably get stressful unless you’re frank and honest with them about how hard the seasonal spike will be. At Blue Ocean, we learned this one the hard way when we downplayed a forecasted spike for a large client, assuring concerned agents that they shouldn’t worry. Subsequently, they were unprepared for how tough it would be, and absenteeism went way up. The following year, we were honest, preparing the team appropriately. We helped them pull through, so absenteeism went down and we hit our grade of service despite the hardest six weeks of the year.
How will the holiday spike impact your SLA and KPIs? It may be that a reduced incident rate will be more important than a reduced average length of a phone call, so adjust your metrics as necessary. Likewise, tweaks to your outbound process might be helpful, with regular customers needing reminders or preparation regarding standing orders, delivering timing, and more.
Giving your teams a creative mission to embrace may help combat a low morale. For instance, crafting themes for your spikes like “Holiday Hell 2018” or “Operation Save Christmas” can help rally your troops and create a culture of resilience. Furthermore, extra perks and little bonuses can do wonders in boosting enthusiasm this time of year. We live by the motto, “When something seriously sucks, put a t-shirt on it.” A few years, during the relentless Polar Vortex, we made t-shirts for our team saying “Winter Suffer Fest 2014. Bring it.” It empowered agents to see themselves as tough and capable, even on Code Red days when volume spiked higher than expected. And, of course, keeping your team fed with treats, holiday-themed meals, and pizza will always help keep morale high. Finally, gamification and creative incentive programs can motivate your agents when holiday demand reaches its peak. Keep them excited about the work they’re doing, and their positive attitude will reflect directly on your customer experience.
Publish Date: December 17, 2018
CrankWheel Screen Sharing
CrankWheel is an easy and simple screen sharing solution, made for the needs of salespeople and customer service agents.
CrankWheel complements voice calls by adding visuals to ongoing calls. There is no need to get the customer off the phone, onto another platform.
Agents share their screens by directing clients to a link that can be sent via SMS, email or simply spelled out.
The client can enter on any device, mobile, desktop or tablet and enters the session instantly. There is no registration or download required by the client.
- Screen sharing
- Agents can hand control over to the client
- Warm lead capture widget that alerts the sales team instantly of an intere...
We help you automate your QA program using artificial intelligence. Why just listen to 6 calls when you can listen to 100% of your calls that too without adding any additional resources.
We empower QAs to get to the right calls, find coaching and training opportunities and improve overall Customer experience.
|What Happens to Customer Service When Unemployment Hits Historic Lows?||July 3, 2019|
|Keep Your Contact Center in North America Without Breaking the Bank||June 24, 2019|
|Oh, the Places You’ll Go: The 4 Contact Center Location Considerations||June 13, 2019|
|Before You Go to RFP, Get Friendly: A Guide to On-Site Contact Center Visits||May 29, 2019|
|Up Where Expectations Soar: Customer Care in the Age of Entitlement||April 15, 2019|
|How to Engage Gen Z in the Contact Center||March 26, 2019|
|Blue Ocean Wins 2019 Silver Stevie® Award in 13th Annual Stevie Awards for Customer Service||February 26, 2019|
|Empowering Your Team to Deliver Kick-Ass Customer Experience||February 25, 2019|
|Are You Using 1999 Metrics to Measure 2019 Customer Care?||February 7, 2019|
|Which 2019 Consumer Trends Will Impact Your Customer Experience Strategy?||January 22, 2019|