The holiday season is here. Along with all the merry making, it also brings with itself lots of business opportunities. Call centers especially find that it is the busiest time of the year. Not only is there a huge traffic of phone calls, customers’ expectations also see a drastic rise during this time. All the shops are crowded, all the waiting lines are exceedingly long and thus the customer find their patience to be at a breaking point. The last thing they want is to be stuck up on hold on a phone call.
Call centers have to have an efficient strategy to deal with the increased influx of calls during the holiday season to ensure that their customers are satisfied and the holiday joy is spread all along. Here are 5 essential tips that all call centers must adhere to during the holiday season:
Customize the IVR for Holiday Season
The IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is the first thing that the customers hear when they make a call to your call center. A little modifications to the voice response, tailored for the holiday season paves the way for a much smoother experience. For example, the greeting could be changed from a simple “Hello” to “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”. This is bound to lighten their moods and the overall contact experience is much better.
Moreover, there can be separate section for all the holiday benefits that your company is offering. Everybody is intrigued by the holiday offers and this can lead to more revenue for your company. If there is going to be a change in your working hours or return policies make sure that the IVR has a modified version of it up and running so that the customers don’t find themselves on the short end of the offer.
Hire Temporary Employees to Handle the Load
Increased calls are inevitable during the holiday season. The only way to handle them is to have more employees in hand. Short term hiring of calling agents is the best solution to it. There are many agencies that allow you to hire well trained calling professionals on a short term.
These newly hired staff can take up on the more mundane tasks while your original agents can dedicate their time to the more taxing issues. By spreading the work load efficiently, an efficient experience is guaranteed.
Decrease the Hold Time for Calls
Being stuck on hold is highly frustrating, even more during the holiday season when everyone is on even more of a rush than usual. Being stuck on hold is aggravating and you wouldn’t want to hamper the holiday spirits of your customers. You should aim for even lower than average hold times, only then will you be able to maintain an average hold time because the influx of calls is highly increased during the holiday season.
You can also give the customers an option to skip the holding queue entirely. By offering call back services you can make sure that both the agent and the customer can interact at a favorable time. Giving the option to the customer to sending their message to voicemail is also an efficient alternative. However if you choose to do so make sure that the storage capacity of the voicemail box is big enough to hold those extra calls.
Predict the Trends and Strategize Accordingly
The holiday season is a yearly event. It’s not like it’s a onetime occurrence. So forecasting what’s going to happen, the number of calls you will be receiving, the main issues the customers would be having and the common problems you will be facing is really easy.
Preparation is the key to success. Analyze your historical data from the holiday seasons of previous years to gather insights into trends, hold times, peak calling hours, common issues and other such matters. This will allow you to predict what can happen this year so you are equipped to deal with it. If you are a new company and this is your first holiday season you could get the general market trend online and be prepared according to it.
Provide Multi-channel Support
Phones have always been the most frequently used communication channel between a company and its clients. However it is no longer the only one. The internet has brought about a myriad of other channels like chat, email, and social media that many customers find more easily accessible than a phone call.
Ensure that these channels are integrated in your call center as well to maximize customer interaction. This will not only decrease the load on the phone lines but also enable better satisfaction more a lot of customers.
While the number of calls that a call center has to face during the holiday season might look overwhelming at first, it is not a problem without a solution. Understand the trends and be prepared accordingly in order to guarantee the best customer experience as well as satisfaction.
Arsh Sharma, editor at Call Center Hosting, a provider of call center solutions and hosted PBX services, likes fooling around with technology and the latest gadgets. He feeds off pop culture and loves anything that has got something to do with comic books, dota2 or football.
Twitter Handle: @arsh5sharma
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