A failure to optimise your contact centre during peak times could result in disaster for your company. Whether you outsource your contact centre services or manage them in-house, it is vital to plan for peak times. We offer some expert tips so you can be there when your customers need you.
Scraping by with insufficient staffing levels or resources is a false economy. Remember the harried faces leaving work at silly o’clock after last season’s hectic period? Remember your customer’s displeasure after they’d endured a ten-minute call queue, soundtracked by a travesty from X Factor? Businesses that learn from past experiences and make data-led operational improvements are those that welcome busy times with open arms. They know they’ve budgeted and planned for adequate staff cover, outsourced where needs be and got to their customers promptly.
Answerphones, convoluted IVR lines and unmanned customer service lines are huge deterrents for callers. Where at all possible, your customers should speak to a real person, even if it is simply a message-taking service in the first instance. If you know your customer base engages with brands via social media (and the chances are they do), a process for handling queries on Facebook, Twitter, etc and email is highly desirable.
According to Eptica, UK businesses are failing to answer 50% of online queries. Response time data was equally shaming with the average noted as 29 hours 27 minutes. This figure has halved since 2014. An improvement yes, but hardly worthy of celebration. Naturally, peaks can negatively impact response times but contingencies must be made if you want to keep your loyal customer base. Get resourcing and workflows sorted and give your customers the service your brand deserves. Define response expectations and communicate them on your collateral, making sure they meet market demands.
Your seasonal or outsourced staff want to do the best job they possibly can, so give them the tools they need. Access to comprehensive training, FAQs and promotional materials will give your temporary workers a clearer view of how to help your customers and will mean they can speak knowledgably about your brand and be a true ambassador. Please don’t make assumptions about what training methods or docs work best, ask those who’ve experienced it!
If you outsource your contact centre services, you should be kept informed about how your calls or campaigns are progressing. For example, your outsourced partner can advise on volumes, query types, caller feedback, call durations etc. This can help you adapt future campaign strategies, attribute your resources more effectively and make sure you are fulfilling customer expectations.
Be on the right lines
If you have different numbers for customer contact – customer service, order lines, appointment setting etc. – those boundaries may blur in the event of repeat contact from the caller. Therefore, your contact centre should be versed in managing all types of enquiries, even if it is just the first point of contact.
Anyone who thinks their contact centre operations are above improvement is in denial. There is always more to learn and fine-tune. After busy periods gather all stakeholders, in-house and outsourced, for briefings. Take time to analyse what went well or not so well. How could resources be better allocated, was marketing timely and strategically sound? Did you meet your customers’ expectations? Call data and customer feedback will help paint a broad picture of where your business strengths and weaknesses lie. Then, when your next busy period swings around, you and your colleagues can embrace busy times, prepared and stress-free.
If you’ve got to the end of this page and decided you would rather outsource your customer service – we’ve got you. Speak to one of our experts today and leave the headache of handling peak-time customer service to us.