In the retail industry, holidays season are significant as these are the times when retailers face massive increases in sales and customer-service departments must be well prepared to accommodate the high volumes of inbound calls. However, with the growing diversification in digital engagement tools and methods, Contact Centers must adjust their operations in order to ensure maximize efficiency.

Dimension Data’s 2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report states that overall, 41.8% of Contact Centers forecast a reduction in traditional voice only contacts while 87.0% expect an increase in non-voice interactions. As new customers turn digital, additional opportunities open up for selling in person through technologies like co-browsing, content share combined with textual chat and video chat. Those change require better skilled, trained and motivated customer support personnel .The challenges for Contact Centers are many, but they reach their peak around the holiday season, when there is a sudden increase in sales and the need for customer support.

 Lets take a look at some ways to face these challenges:

 Nurturing relationships with internal staff

In customer experience vs. agent experience, the author points out that the retailer spends too much time to exploring creative ways to engage customers while ignoring the need to improve their staffs’ experience Research proves that retailers who have invested resources in improving their customer-support staff have experienced far greater rewards in Contact-Center operations. This can be seen in the form of more able, more empowered, and happier customer-service personnel.

Actions to take to improve your agents’ experience:

  • Hiring and training of qualified individuals
  • Providing continuous access to knowledge and tools
  • Sharing lessons learned and customer feedback on a daily basis

 Do You Trust Your Contact Center Agents? Indicates that customer satisfaction is closely related to agent satisfaction, and conversely, customer dissatisfaction is related to an unhappy agent who fails to deliver.

Scheduling skilled staff and monitoring outcome

 The article How Call Center Management Can Prepare for the Holidays highlights the use of forecasting and scheduling technologies to apply historical data on projections and gain intelligence to prepare highly skilled staff to handle customers during holiday seasons. Moreover, the Contact Center staff interactions with customers can be tracked, monitored and evaluated later for training staff for future seasons.

Steps to take:

  • Prepare staff to address consumer requests quickly and accurately
  • Be prepared to track, monitor, record all Contact Center interactions.
  • Ensure timely feedback and further training to Contact Center staff for handling future holiday seasons.
Utilizing technology to deliver customer engagements

The role of technology is paramount in many fields such as quickly locating the required information in knowledge bases, and enabling inbound and outbound communication on multi-channels. Additionally the role of technology is important in facilitating collaboration between co-workers and customers, and in tracking customer history. Thus, as Contact Centers continue to embrace newer and better technologies like multi-chat platforms with integrated co-browsing, the easier it will be for customer support staff to handle the peak holiday seasons efficiently. Success of sales or customer service depends on the technology backbone of the retail business.

Helpful ways to do this:

Contact Centers must assess their needs and implement the appropriate technology platforms and solutions well in advance of holiday seasons. This advanced implementation will enable support staff to be able to be fully trained and prepared by holiday season.

Building social customer-service teams

Watch Is your social customer service operation ready for the holiday season? for the full story on social media.
Every holiday period in a retailer’s business can use a special customer-service team, adequately trained to handle customers through the social media. A socially integrated customer-service center will be able to collect customer feedback in real-time and also catch the pulse of customer emotions—positive or negative about special programs, product lines, or services designed just for the holiday season.

A social operation within the Contact Center is uniquely positioned to provide a fully personalized experience, allowing service agents to collect instant metrics like First Response Time (FRT) or Average Handling Time (AHT).

Needless to say, listen to your customers for early warning signs!

Good Contact Center will influence your holidays season success. Contact Centers must prepare by building qualified support team that can use diversified methods of consumer engagement. The support team needs to be well trained, skilled and motivated to do a good job. Today’s digital consumer is the most demanding consumer ever and you must be ready to step up to the plate in order to win!