Preparing Your Contact Center for the Holiday Season: The Basics
Christmas is coming, and a surge in demand is coming with it. There are heaps of reasons why the Christmas holidays are the busiest time of the year for contact centers. From shoppers looking for updates on their purchases, to travelers trapped by wintry weather; every industry must ensure that their customer service is firing on all cylinders. After all, a great Customer Experience (CX) can mean the difference between an unforgettable Christmas, and a disaster. Here are the basics that you need to know when preparing your contact center for the holiday season.
Achieve seasonal scalability with omni-channel contact
Your customers expect instant contact at any time of year, and the holiday season is no exception. All too often, high contact volumes lead to long wait times. And forcing your customers into torturous queues during the holiday season is a guaranteed way to encourage defections. This is one nightmare before Christmas your business will want to avoid.
When preparing your contact center for the holiday season, you need scalability. In practice, ‘scalability’ means being able to handle any level of concurrent demand, without letting a single call drop, and leaving a customer dissatisfied. This is a daunting challenge at the best of times. But in the icy grip of winter, it can be even easier to slip up.
Omni-channel contact is essential here. It allows your CX estate to be diverse enough to handle contacts over the phone, via SMS, email, and digital channels. Your agents are able to view every channel on a single pane of glass, and effortlessly follow customer journeys across them. By diversifying your channels of contact, you avoid putting all your gifts in one stocking. So if phone lines are busy, customers can be directed to web chat, or SMS, for the answers they need. As a result, customers can still reach you regardless of the channel.
But why wait for your customers to contact you? With omni-channel, your contact center services can also offer proactive messaging across a variety of channels, to prepare your customers for disruption, reducing uncertainty and the flood of inquiries it prompts. For example, energy providers that anticipate outages can contact customers in advance, to reassure them that despite disruption, they are taking the necessary steps they need to ensure that Christmas lights will stay on. For last-mile logistics providers expecting delays thanks to bad weather, customers can be warned in advanced.
Share the Christmas spirit with your agents by giving them the right tools and support
Everyone wants Christmas to be a success, so emotions usually run high. However, your customers won’t be the only ones feeling the seasonal pressure. Being on the receiving end of negative emotions can be disheartening for agents, and lead to lower standards of CX. Ensuring that you’re scheduling a sufficient volume of agents to meet demand, supporting them with the right technology, and factoring in their scheduling preferences, are essential to keeping your contact center from being snowed under.
If you don’t want to end up on your customer’s naughty list this Christmas, your agents need to be able to do their best work. That means empowering them with the technology to deliver outstanding experiences and employing Workforce Optimization software that makes seasonal scheduling easy.
A scalable contact center needs to be flexible. Your workforce needs to be able to respond quickly to spikes in demand. Doing so requires intelligent scheduling that can adapt to incorporate your agent’s preferences. This frees your managers from the time-consuming task of manual scheduling when preparing the contact center for the holiday season. With scheduling wrapped up, your managers have time to reflect on agent performance analytics and craft tailored feedback, to ensure that your talent is at the top of its game in time for Christmas.
But to reach the standards of CX your customers expect, your agents need the tools to excel. They need an interface that brings every channel of customer contact onto one screen. They need customer data and interaction history displayed alongside each interaction, to instantly gain an understanding of a customer’s problem and needs. On top of this, they also need AI-powered digital assistants that provide script suggestions and ensure compliance across every contact.
Giving your agents the tools to succeed means more first-contact resolutions, which means quicker solutions and lower cost-to-serve. Most importantly, it means a smoother experience for your customers, and a Christmas made easy.
Put your digital elves to work with automation
Sometimes, no amount of scheduling can manage the sheer number of contacts your business faces. In these situations, you still need to answer every call, and still need to satisfy every customer. The solution to this problem is intelligent automation.
Automated Machine Agents can meet customers over any channel, both text, and voice, to collect customer data, offer advice, and escalate to a human agent if necessary. The vast majority of customer inquiries are repetitive and easily resolved. Machine Agents can handle these requests without the need for human interference, empowering customers to self-serve, rather than be frozen in a queue. And if a customer still wants to speak to a human agent, they can be automatically guided to the best available agent through AI-backed intelligent routing.
Equipped with Natural Language Processing (NLP), these Machine Agents can easily transcribe and process unstructured speech or text. From here, deriving a customer’s needs and even mood becomes easy. Accurate transcription can also boost compliance, automatically sweeping contacts for essential compliance statements, and highlighting any concerns to supervisors.
With automation, you can supercharge your contact center this holiday season. Scale to meet any level of demand, allow your customer to self-serve, and ensure that Christmas this year is delightful.
Preparing your contact center for the holiday season: The recap
This Christmas, give your customers the gift of a great experience. Through omni-channel contact, effective workforce management, and intelligent automation, you can scale to any level of concurrent demand. And by ensuring that no call is dropped and that every customer finds a satisfying resolution, you can create experiences that keep customers coming back.
Content Guru works with organizations around the world to innovate their contact center practices, and deliver outstanding CX. Begin your CX journey with Content Guru, and make Christmas easy.