With the last few weeks of the year approaching, most of us have already started to prepare for our well-deserved holidays. Except, that is, those who work in the contact center industry…With Christmas upon us, contact centers everywhere are gearing up for an intense increase in activity. And that, of course, has a big effect on staffing needs.
Contact centers and companies working in retail or e-commerce know very well that offering consistent and smooth customer support experience during the holiday season is crucial in order to keep their customers satisfied in the long run. If they don’t succeed in offering high levels of support during this time, they risk losing existing customers and potential sales opportunities.
In order to survive and strive in the holiday period, you need to understand how to effectively prepare your staff for the inevitable increased volume of customer queries which will happen at this time. So, here are some workforce management tips to help you gear up for the weeks ahead!
In terms of your workforce, optimizing and planning ahead is of major importance in ensuring that customer interactions and queries do not get out of hand. And this is where forecasting is vital.
Thankfully, there are a lot of tools that can automatically analyze customer data in order to create precise forecasts and use that information to create schedules for the holiday period.
Of course, you’ll need to rely on your historical data in order to be able to accurately make forecasts and create a schedule. Analyzing your data from the past, such as the volume of calls, average handle times, and your individual channels’ workload, will definitely help you understand what you can expect from this year’s holiday season.
2. Have a Backup Plan
Once you created a holiday period schedule for your staff, it’s worth having a backup plan in case things do not go as planned – however good your forecasts are, there might still be an even bigger increase in your customer service demands than you expect.
Similarly, bear in mind that some of your agents who are scheduled to work during the holidays may become unexpectedly ill. Again, in such cases, you’ll need to come up with the ideal solution in order to keep your customer service consistent and seamless.
So, start by determining if you need to expand your office space to accommodate additional seats. However, as you’ll also need the additional physical space and appropriate technology to support your expanded team, it might be a better idea to consider relying on home-based staff during the busiest weeks of the year.
3. Offer perks to motivate your team
As customer queries normally skyrocket during the Christmas period, most contact centers require their agents to work overtime.
But, of course, everyone is tired at the end of the year, and so you can imagine how much working overtime right before Christmas may harm your team’s morale.
In order to, in contrast, boost morale and motivate your team during this testing Christmas period, make sure to consider offering them extra perks. Offering them extra breaks, remote working opportunities, bonuses and even promotions will help you show your agents that you appreciate their efforts in going the extra mile.
The Christmas season is the perfect time for your contact center to show customers that your business is able to serve them even during the busiest period of the year. Follow our tips and make sure you don’t lose a single customer during the Holiday period!