This blog was written for Click4Assistance and originally published on 2019/12/03. ↗️

Is your contact centre ready for the holiday rush?

Live chat has become one of the more important contact touch points in a customer’s journey, whether they are a first time buyer or a loyal customer. But during the peak shopping season around the holidays, it’s absolutely critical that your contact centre and its agents are fully prepared for the incoming surge of customer contact. 

Contact centres are not always easy places to work. It can be mentally taxing at times and it’s important for agent management to understand and accommodate this, while preparing for the holiday rush. Understanding your seasonal peaks, like Black Friday weekend, the pre-Christmas rush, post-Christmas and New Year sales, is just one of the many ways to avoid becoming overwhelmed with customer traffic. You can expand your teams, employ more efficient technology, and engage various communication options to make the process more convenient for the customer. 

Fortify for the impending floods

As a contact centre, you know the monsoon is coming. The most obvious method of preparing is expanding your team of expert agents. By adding more agents to your rotation, you can reduce the strain on your current team, which will maintain quality levels. In addition to recruiting more team members, many contact centres now do pre-season in-house training refresher courses on managing stress and managing angry customers and complaints. This can also be coupled with new procedures on escalating abusive customers or those with more complex issues to more senior staff. Refreshed awareness in these areas will increase productivity and efficiency. 

Providing more emotional support and distributing encouraging internal messaging to counterbalance the stress of the busy period can prove to be immeasurably beneficial for agent morale. And offering incentives, along with remote working where possible, can open the door to that extra drive needed from agents at this time of year. 

The right technology

Everyone in this industry will agree on one thing: the right technology can make an influx of customer traffic much more easily managed than an outdated or retrofitted system. By having the right technology, your contact centre’s productivity levels will soar, giving your agents more time to deal with customers and require less time on the administrative part of their role. Automation saves a lot of time in the long run. Predefined replies ensure that agents send the right message quickly. AI chatbots and enquiry forms allow customers to reach the right departments and agents faster. 

Multiple communication options

Sometimes speaking with someone is faster than trying to type everything into a live chat, contact box or email, and it may be more effective in trying to gauge the core of the customer’s issue. By providing options like Click2Call or self-help FAQs, contact centres can give the customer options they are more comfortable using. Some customers may even prefer to get in touch via social media, and Click4Assistance’s live chat software integrates seamlessly with Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp, making this more possible than ever before. You need to provide options that are quick and convenient for the customer as this is also a busy time of year for them. 

Call-Backs – the redeemer for contact centres 

When the queues are long and the lines are jammed, having a call-back option could save both the customer and the contact centre a lot of time. It’s much more convenient than having a customer waiting in a queue online or on the phone for what seems like ages, and it’s likely that the customer would prefer this option. It puts the choice in their hands; if they are in a queue for ten minutes, it was their choice to wait as there was the option to leave their information for a callback at a more convenient time or when the next agent is available. This will create a more positive experience for the customer, while reducing wait times, which is a simple win-win scenario.  

AI Bot: “Hello, how can I help you today?”  

Technology can be complicated, but it brings some really interesting possibilities. Artificial intelligence has massively improved customer service, sales and marketing in ways we could not have predicted. An AI bot can assist customers with simple enquiries that may not require the intervention of a customer service agent, which reduces the strain on your agents and gives them the time they need to handle more complex customer issues. This is another win-win as some customers can be helped without straining the system; and an AI bot can communicate with multiple customers simultaneously, 24/7. Couple this with a callback or queue-up system, and this gives the customers much more freedom of choice. 

The holiday peak season is crucial to any contact centre business. A good customer service experience means good reviews which means good business for you and your clients. If you’re interested in employing Click4Assistance, the UK’s premier GDPR compliant live chat software solution, to make your contact centre more efficient and productive for the holiday rush, give us a call on 08451235871 or send an email [email protected] and one of our team experts will be with you right away.