The holidays are a difficult time for businesses. The holidays can be an incredibly stressful time, both for customers and for customer service teams. With the crush of simultaneous orders and inquiries, it’s easy for mistakes to happen and for frustrations to build. With millions of shoppers looking to make purchases, staffing customer service is essential. Here are some tips for staffing successful holiday shifts.
“Be available. Yes, it’s important to go on vacation; no one is saying you shouldn’t do this,” said Annemarie Cross, Project Manager at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. “But if you know you won’t be addressing customer service issues during the holidays, give yourself a time limit (i.e., I will be on vacation November 22nd-25th) and make sure that your calls or emails are routed to someone who can handle it.”
If the prospect of handling the increased customer service load over the holidays leaves your employees wary, here are 5 tips that can help you manage an influx in calls and requests, and help provide a positive customer service image.
Hiring an Experienced Contact Center Will Help Support the Holiday Customer Service.
Peak times during the holidays can lead to long hold queues. Contact center experts categorize a peak time as 40 percent or greater over the normal number of calls. And many companies that rely on eCommerce and telephone sales will experience peak times on an ongoing basis from early November until the end of December.
How can you prepare for the onslaught of holiday orders, callers, and walk-in customers? When the holidays roll around, many businesses don’t have the resources to handle peak call volumes. Yet they must meet the increasing demand for customer service, driven by increased online sales. Fortunately, experienced contact centers are prepared to rise to the challenge during peak times. This enables your company to focus on increasing revenue.
Hiring extra staff is an obvious solution. But it’s expensive, so most companies are reluctant or unable to do so. Contact centers looking for a way to handle the tremendous volume without adding full-time employees should consider outsourcing to an experienced contact center. There are several benefits to outsourcing contact center services. The most obvious one is cost savings. Whether it’s just to outsource overflow calls during peak times or after hours, contact centers save your business money. Also, a well-staffed and trained contact center representative will make all the difference in providing stellar customer service during the most crucial shopping season of the year. Lastly, hiring an experienced contact center that understands peak call volume and can integrate solutions such as real-time case management, predictive dialing, script eLearning, and quality assurance software will help your business grow during the holiday customer service season.
Deliver Self-Service Tools For Holiday Customer Service.
As customer service professionals, we know firsthand how difficult it can be to get time away from the office over the holidays. But making it easier for your customers to get the information they need without contacting support is a great way to free up some of that time for your family during the busy holiday season. Using a combination of a helpdesk support line and some knowledge-sharing content can streamline support requests while giving your customers the answers they need.
A great example is offering telephone helpdesk support to customers, making sure it’s easy for customers to find the answers they need on their own (or at least easily figure out how to get them). Not to mention, our Experts are available 24/7/365, even during peak holiday hours, to field common questions and resolve any issues so you can focus on what matters most this season: your customers. Happy Holidays!
With holiday shopping in full swing, allow customers to turn to your self-service tools for answers. If you want to save money on your cost of sales, provide timely answers without having to call in. A contact center helpdesk phone line is a customer service tool that gives you more control over answering questions and troubleshooting problems. By fielding calls from customers, a call center helps you reduce the number of inbound ticket requests and gives you more time focused on innovation instead of operations. If you’re transitioning to holiday support hours, your best option for getting help to your customers is with Call Experts.
Plan for the Rush or Office Closure by Forwarding Your Phone Lines.
Call Experts provides you with ways to deal with all of the holiday customer service rushes. Forward calls to any mobile device, a second phone number, or a different agent at your business. With Call Experts, it’s simple to customize call forwarding options so you can focus on the important things in life and forget about your business for a little while. Whether for work or personal reasons, you need to forward your calls. Call Experts is a virtual receptionist service that offers call forwarding to make life easier and configure custom call forwarding options.
Call forwarding is the tried and true method for a smarter way to customize holiday customer service protocols. Give your customers the necessary reassurance that they can reach their business for urgent calls even during peak operating season, peak sales cycles, or times of business closure. It’s our new flexible call forwarding plan designed to support your seasonal demands.
Our experts are here to help you set up phone line forwarding, or call forwarding services. It’s easy to customize your options so that you can enjoy time away from your business, without being worried about missed calls.
Create An On-Call Protocol For Holiday Customer Service Especially If You Are In Emergency Services.
Now there is a better way to do coordination. Call Experts provides real-time management of on-call schedules, helping ensure the right people are alerted during a closure, holiday hours, and after hours. Our solutions provide tools for managing the emergency escalations and shift management of your business, no matter how large or small, including detailed team calendars, Secure Mobile App Integrations, file sharing and more.
When an issue arises on the coldest, busiest days of the holiday season, you want to be ready to get your experts into action. With Call Expert’s on-call scheduling software, you can automatically route notifications via your teams’ preferred contact methods based on predefined schedules. This removes several steps in getting the right information to the right expert when every minute counts.
Empowering your team to succeed with on-call scheduling is easy. Just enter the details of your work schedules and notify clients and coworkers via email or SMS. You can also create a backup schedule in case of the primary calls out. An on-call scheduling integration with our contact center makes it easier for on-call or on-duty employees to stay in touch. Users can easily reach their teams and get notified of incidents and changes across all communication channels such as web, mobile apps, and email. As a result, on-call teams save time and money by improving productivity and reducing errors that arise due to manual input or miscommunications.
Be Proactive About Informing Your Customer of Holiday Customer Service Protocols.
The Holiday season is an exciting time for everyone; it’s that special time of year where you get to spend quality time with family and friends, de-stress with some alone time, and indulge in some delicious holiday fare. But for many of us, the holiday season is also synonymous with higher expectations of businesses. Growing consumer confidence can make customers more demanding; they expect higher quality products, faster support, and lower prices.
In light of the holidays, your business should review your customer service protocol for answering frequently asked questions and updating help articles on holidays. It is important that your customers know what the support schedule will look like during this time of year, and what they can do to get their questions answered if you are unable to address them immediately, otherwise some people may make a bigger deal out of the delay than it justifies.
Here is a great example of a script that you could use for your customer service holiday proactive notifications:
“Dear <insert customer name>, we wanted to make sure you have the extended holiday support information for <insert company name> customers. You may call our toll-free Customer Care line at <insert phone line> during our regular business hours, which are <insert open time> to <insert close time> <insert time zone>, weekdays. Any calls made outside of these hours of operation will be answered by our qualified representatives who have been trained on the <insert company name> products and services.”
With the holiday season upon us, it’s important to be proactive about informing your customers of upcoming holiday customer service protocols during this busy time. This will be valuable to your customers, as well as to your organization – fewer frustrated customers means less work for your customer service team! Proactive outreach informing your customers of hours changes, service outages, and even emergency protocols is essential. So, if you’re a merchant or service provider, take a moment today to review your support schedule during the holidays and then follow up with your customers via e-mail, outbound phone calls, social media, etc. This way your customers can make realistic plans regarding when they should expect to be reached—and you can ensure success by following the holiday customer service strategies you and your contact center partners already have in place.