3 Ways to Prepare Your Contact Center for the Holidays

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Every year, there is at least one major retailer who experiences a website outage during Cyber Monday. As arguably the biggest online shopping day of the year, no retailer wants to deal with even one minute of down-time, so while their IT team is scrambling to resolve the web issue there is bound to be a HUGE spike in inbound calls from shoppers looking to finalize their purchase orders. When that many inbound calls coming in at once, average on-hold time is bound to skyrocket, more calls will be accidentally rerouted to the wrong department or even dropped, FCR rates might slip, call abandonment rate will go up and more. In short, every major KPI your contact center measures is at risk during the holidays because you can’t always predict when those waves of inbound calls will come.


Here are 3 ways you can prepare your contact center for the holidays:

1. Create more contact options.

Some call centers hire additional contract agents during the holidays to handle the increase in call volume. If you have data to justify the hiring of extra agents this is certainly a viable option, but it is also worthinvesting in multi-channel contact options like email, live chat, social media, callback options, online FAQs or even SMS. This gives customers the chance to choose how they would like to contact your company, which improves the overall customer experience, as well as cuts back on some of the inbound calls your center receives. If you can cut down on inbound call volume by even 10-15% with these multi-channel options you give your agents more time to handle the calls they do receive and keep your customers happy. If historical data gives you a date range where you know inbound calls are going to increase dramatically, you might want to open your call center earlier and close later (or even run a skeleton crew overnight) to spread the call volume out.

2. Train your agents.

When call volume increases every second counts. The more familiar your call center agents are with the software you use the better! Do they know the most efficient ways to navigate your system? Do they know what applications are stored where and how those applications will interact with each other? It’s also imperative that your agents know WHO they are working with and what their strengths are. If they can’t answer a question about billing who should they transfer that call to? If they can’t process a return who do they pull in? No one agent can know everything, but who should they turn to for help? It’s also important your agents know the products inside-and-out (especially if they are only short-term holiday employees). Customers expect call center agents to be able to answer their questions and if you can’t deliver you risk ruining the customer experience and even losing that sale.

3. Make sure your customer data is accurate.

When call volume spikes during the holidays, call center agents might try to shave a few seconds here and there by not completely filling out their post-call recap forms. While this might help them hit their call quota for the day, should that customer call back the next agent is going to be totally lost!What better way to make for a truly amazing customer experience than actually knowing someone’s name, their order history, when and why they last called, and other information related to their call? It can actually save your contact center time overall because the second agent and the caller doesn’t have to re-enact the first call in order to resolve the second.

Above all else, remember that the holidays are a stressful time for everyone. Be patient with both your customers AND agents because attitude can make or break your call center this holiday season!

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