If your facility is like most, you’re always working on solutions for handling call center peak seasons. However, you may not yet be in the frame of mind to prepare for the holiday rush. After all, it’s still August! Something you may not have considered, though, is that the best-prepared contact centers use the entire calendar to prepare for the holiday season.
Before the first leaves of autumn reach the ground or the first snows of winter fall, make sure your contact center is ready for the major rushes in customer service that come with big days like Black Friday, Christmas, or Boxing Day. Preparing now for call center peak seasons and they won’t give you any trouble when the calendar page turns!
Don’t Fail to Plan
The saying goes that those who fail to plan are planning to fail. When it comes to ensuring the readiness of your facility for call center peak seasons, this is certainly true.
Since you’re contemplating your holiday season success now, you have plenty of time to make plans and train your staff to make it happen. Don’t waste it! Secure the win for your team by creating action plans and implementing them one month at a time.
A great way to begin is by assessing last year’s successes and failures. What went well? What left consumers and agents frustrated? Were you understaffed? Did you have frustrated agents who felt overwhelmed by the major influx of calls? Or were there fewer call spikes than you were expecting? Taking these statistics into account can help you plan for the months ahead.
The holiday season rush is never a surprise, so why let it sneak up on your this year? By planning ahead, you can be ahead of the game - and ahead of your competition. By the time September and October roll around, you’ll be well on your way to creating a workable plan that will ensure that your agents will be capable of handling their workload, your consumers will be well-served, and your business will benefit from the holiday season to come.
Understand the Importance of Remote Agents
Staffing is one way that most companies handle seasonal spikes that come with customer service positions. If you have ever seen seasonal hiring signs in the windows of retail stores, you undoubtedly understand why these companies do this; with so many people shopping at the holidays, there is a major increase in the need for customer service, both on the front lines in stores and behind the scenes online and on the phone.
For large companies, this can mean bringing on thousands of seasonal employees for temporary positions. This isn’t always a practical solution for those in the customer service industry, especially in smaller contact centers. Budget constraints and other problems may make it nearly impossible for these smaller operations to increase their staff significantly - even temporarily.
Since employee turnover is already an issue in the world of contact centers, it is also not advisable to create a scenario that encourages temporary residence of the positions in your facility. Seasonal positions do exactly this - flying in the face of the efforts many contact center managers make during the rest of the year to reduce employee attrition.
So, if you can’t bring on thousands of extra, temporary employees during the holiday season, how are you supposed to handle call center peak seasons? One excellent solution is to use the employees you already have to create a flexible workforce. Providing your center with the potential for scalability is perhaps the best approach you can take to tackling peak seasons and a large percentage of remote workers can do exactly that.
Remote workers don’t have to make up your entire workforce, nor do they have to be new hires. Instead, considering allowing a portion of your workforce to go remote during the holiday season. This will allow you to call on them as needed, keeping employees on the clock only for the time they are actively working. This can help you keep costs down while offering employees the added benefit of being able to spend more time at home with their loved ones during a season that focuses on exactly that. It’s a true win-win situation!
Make Sure You Have the Right Technology at Your Disposal
No matter how much preparation you put into gearing up for call center peak seasons, there is no way to truly be ready for them without the right tools and technology. There are several features and functions you will need in your software to ensure holiday season success, including:
- Ease of use for your agents.
- Scalability for a changing team size.
- Collaborative functionality that allows agents to work together to serve consumers better.
- Interactive features that help management members monitor and guide their team to success.
Because consumer demand for excellent service does not decrease when the number of calls increases, it is important to have software in place that can handle these seasonal spikes. If you’re not sure that this describes your current technology, it may be time for an upgrade. After all, your tech is the backbone of what you do - don’t let it be the reason you’re caught unprepared for the holidays when you started preparing in the middle of summer!
If you still need help ensuring your contact center is holiday season ready - no matter what today’s date may be - contact the industry experts at ChaseData. They can help you choose the right tools and technology to outfit your center for even the busiest of call center peak seasons. That way, you’ll never be caught off-guard - and your agents will always be ready when the calls start rolling in!