With Labor Day behind us, the holiday season is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to start thinking about ramping up your call center for seasonal increases in demand. Without preparing your customer service program, you may fail to meet customer expectations and even potentially lose sales - resulting in lower profits.
To help you get ready for the busy buying season, here are five tips for ramping up your call center so you can provided the very best customer experience.
1 - Start hiring early
Chances are you are planning to hire new staff to meet the demand of holiday shoppers. You need a team that will mesh well with your current employees and is properly trained to deliver the service experience your customers have come to expect.
To ensure you have access to the best talent pool, be sure to start hiring early. This will not only give you access to more talent, but it will also give you the opportunity to train new staff. To attract the best talent, be clear about the job role, provide attractive incentives and be sure to emphasize your corporate social responsibility, which could be of interest to potential hires during the season of giving.
2 - Have a strong onboarding program
Once you have found talent to hire, you need to ensure you optimize their onboarding. You need to teach them how to do their day-to-day tasks, help them get a feel for your corporate and brand culture, and ensure they know your products and services inside out. Once they have that knowledge, you need to show them what good customer service looks like for your business, and provide lots of opportunities for hands-on training with top performing employees.
3 - Take care of your agents
The holiday season can be overwhelming - especially for customer service reps. To make sure your staff are able to handle the demand and the increased stress, equip them with the tools and resources they need to service customers quickly and efficiently.
You may also want to implement a reward program based on the quality of service provided. To gauge each employee’s performance, you can use customer experience metrics, internal feedback and follow-up customer surveys. Providing tangible rewards like monetary bonuses, company swag/products, tickets to local events and other gifts will not only help employees feel valued … it may also help ease some of their personal holiday stresses.
4 - Plan to ramp down
What comes up must come down. While ramping up for the seasonal demand at your call center is important, you also need to plan for gearing down. Having a proper strategy in place will help make sure that your best seasonal employees look forward to coming back the following year. It will also ensure your ramping down process doesn’t start sooner than needed.
5 - Consider outsourcing to a contact center
Outsourcing to a contact center can be the perfect way to address the increase in demand over the holiday season. That’s because potential teams have already been vetted and trained to provide exceptional customer service. In addition, customer service reps at outsourced call centers have been trained to quickly absorb information about your specific brand, products and services and customer service best practices. This can help reduce onboarding and training costs.
Furthermore, outsourced call centers offer flexibility in staffing levels and hours of service. This makes it easier to ramp down and allows you the option to extend your customer service hours over the holidays to help maximize sales and profits.
Finally, outsourcing can help reduce holiday stresses for your internal employees. Not only will it cut down the workload, but it can also provide your year round employees the flexibility to take time off so they can truly enjoy the holidays with their friends and family, as well as company events.
If you want to learn more about outsourcing to meet holiday customer service demands and how it can reduce costs, improve morale and increase profits, contact us today.