How To Handle Your Call Center’s Holiday Rush
The holiday shopping rush is here, and with it, comes the flood of consumers contacting call centers. We’ve narrowed it down to three steps to make sure that your contact center is ready to handle the holiday rush: Prepare, execute, and adjust.
Any good strategy has a basis of facts and data. Before starting any campaign, call centers should analyze previous years’ data to understand trends and fluctuations to better determine risk thresholds. This is easy with a built-in Business Intelligence solution that automatically gathers data into easily digestible visuals. Implementing a Workforce Management solution allows you to schedule and plan ahead with management dashboards and automatic forecasting to help plan your agent staffing. Newer companies can start by studying industry trends to forecast call traffic. When all the data is collected and analyzed, it is time to train call center agents on managing the influx of calls. It may be necessary to hire temporary agents to train and increase call capacity. It is essential to focus on the quality of training more than the number of agents. Better trained agents tend to complete calls faster and with higher success rates than a larger number of poorly trained agents.
Now that you have the facts and have prepared your agents, there are two final steps to get you through the holiday rush. The first is the implementation of the necessary solutions to manage the holiday rush. These solutions can change for every contact center, but some solutions that are often leaned on heavily during the holiday season are:
- Self Service/IVR
- New Call Center Software
Omnichannel communication lets your contact center manage a variety of channels to broaden the spectrum of ways that consumers can connect with you. Consumers don’t always have the time to wait on hold, especially during the rush of the holiday season, and omnichannel helps solve this problem.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated solution that empowers consumers to resolve their questions through a series of self-serve options. If a question or task isn’t resolved through the automatic choices, the IVR system can direct calls to a specialized agent to assist the consumers. This system cuts down on wasted time for agents and consumers while freeing up phone lines to take necessary calls and leave consumers more satisfied.
Call center software is the heart of any call center, and sometimes the old software just won’t cut it. Be conscious of your call center’s needs and make sure your call center software can meet them. It might be time for an upgrade to software that includes everything you need.
The second level of execution is the execution of everything you have prepared thus far. It’s game day. During the rush of holiday calling, agents should continue to receive the necessary training, and managers should note areas of difficulty during this time. Don’t panic; you’ve trained for this moment.
The final step is also one of the most important. As you gather the notes you have taken and compare them with the real-time data collected by your newly updated call center software, you can make a new plan to implement immediately and in the future. The data gathered during this time should show the number of agents you will likely need next year, what areas they need to be trained on more effectively, and what solutions you might benefit from implementing.
Utilize your data and learn from your experiences during the holiday rush in your call center. There’s always room for improvement and lessons to be learned, making the necessary adjustments will only help better the experience for everyone the following year.
While the surge of calls during the holidays can be stressful for call centers, by preparing, executing, and adjusting, you can make the holidays a time of strategic growth. Request a demo to learn about more call center solutions that can help get your call center through the holidays.