How to handle customer service spikes on retailers’ busiest days
Before online shopping hits an all-time high for the 2017 holiday season—expected this year on Cyber Monday, Nov. 27—call center managers must ensure their call center workforce and operations are prepared for the holiday ecommerce rush.
They have every right to be nervous. After all, Cyber Monday 2016 was the biggest day of U.S. ecommerce, with consumers spending more than $3 billion. The 2017 holiday shopping season shows signs of being even more robust.
According to RetailMeNot, consumer spending during Black Friday and the weekend is forecast to grow by 47% year over year. On top of that, Cyber Monday has become even bigger than Black Friday in terms of online sales.
For those in charge of retail call centers, this unbelievable sales flood can be a painful for both customers and companies if call centers aren’t prepared. What can you do to mitigate risk? Look to these areas for answers:
No matter how well or how far in advance you prepare, call spikes will happen. Those spikes lead to excessive wait times and result in a poor experience for callers.
What happens when call volume gets out of control? What strategy do you have to ensure that customer experience doesn’t suffer?
Determine early on where you can scale. Perhaps you have additional resources available internally or other channels are available to help with the influx of calls.
Consider distributing your workload off site to an on-demand, virtual workforce that can flex to handle holiday and seasonal spikes.
Customers have high service expectations—even more so during the holiday rush, when every company is competing hard for dollars. The last thing you want is to let quality slip during such a critical time of the year.
Empower your agents to get the job done. Give them the confidence to solve customer problems. Ongoing skill development empowers agents to meet performance goals. A skilled team of agents that deliver fun and fast service will result in an amazing, personalized customer experience.
Speaking of fast—be sure to focus on fast call resolution times. When customers were asked what it means to deliver a good experience, providing accurate service and information quickly was at the top of the list, according to the 2017 Deloitte Global Contact Center Survey.
One of your biggest efficiency metrics to focus on during the holiday season should be resolving a customer issue or answering their question as quickly and accurately as possible.
Security is a huge consideration, given that vast amounts of personal consumer information including credit card details will be exchanged in the coming weeks. Security needs to take an integrated approach—including vetted agents, hardened infrastructure, and ensuring data is properly locked down. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Ensure all agents undergo an intensive vetting process with background, credit and criminal checks. That little bit of work done up front can help limit your chances of theft or fraud.
- Make sure agents complete an extensive security and fraud certification so they understand acceptable security behavior and practices.
- Update agent computer systems regularly and enable firewall monitoring, spyware, adware and virus protection.
- Enable automated systems to help control the work your agents are doing, tracking their status and activity throughout the day.
The holiday madness is nearly upon us! The best tip of all is to ensure you’ve got a holistic plan of attack to ensure you are prepared for the coming weeks. By adopting strategies to help your call center scale, delivering fast, quality service, and handling customer information securely, you’ll avoid any obstacles in your path to retail success.
- Get the free eBook 3 Practices to Improve Customer Experience
- Watch a webinar on managing customer service spikes
- Read 8 Ways New Agents are Evolving the Traditional Model