Preparing your Contact Centre for the busiest season of the year – Christmas
Director of Customer Services at outsource contact centre Echo-U, Mandy Holford, explores managing the uplift in activity to ensure you keep your customers informed, engaged and satisfied this Christmas.
With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time for retailers to gear up and manage one of the most important sales periods in their calendars, Christmas.
Christmas is that time of year when there is so much more opportunity to deliver the best customer service, connecting and engaging with existing and new customers. If you get that connection right, it can provide important Christmas sales, valuable repeat business and positive word of mouth – all of which are vital to your business’ future growth.
Communicating Your Priorities
Your customer care team needs to understand that service is the top priority, ensuring that it is front of mind in every conversation they have with customers. Ultimately, the customer will feel a connection to the brand because of the service they receive and it will motivate them to purchase and remain loyal to the business in the future.
Working in Real-time
Before starting any customer contact campaigns, you must ensure your reporting process is in place to truly understand what is happening in real-time, as this allows you to adjust your operation to maximise your responsiveness, and profits. The ability to access up-to-date data as and when you need to is key to reviewing progress and making changes in the customer contact cycle. Listen to the narrative from your front line staff. No one knows what’s going on better than the advisor community so ask for information, validate trends and monitor external factors that could help or hinder you and your services.
Seeing the Value in Your Team
Your team members are the people that engage the customer and create value – they are your best asset, so ensure that you invest in your team and reap the rewards. It’s their Christmas period too so make sure there’s plenty of fun activities, incentives and Christmas spirit around to keep the frontline team energised, engaged and feeling the seasonal happiness.
Christmas can be a challenging time in team management so focussing on every success such as great KPIs, customer compliments and incentive winners will drive attendance and help motivate teams to work for the common purpose.
Another important factor in preparing for the Christmas period is ensuring you have flexible resource that can be scaled up or down depending on demand. This may be internal resource which, if managed poorly, may result in temporary staff eating away at your company’s Christmas profits or a stretched team and compromised service. Alternatively, you may have external resource from an outsourcing partner who can manage your customer service requirements elsewhere, offering a dedicated, experienced team and real-time data insights.
You might consider sourcing a customer contact strategy specialist to help with your planning, delivery and reporting over the Christmas period, ensuring the festive period runs smoothly. If this is the case, it is important to get your partner involved in the planning process early to share your intelligence with them. That way, your contact strategy partner will be able to review your team and its performance over the 4-6 week Christmas period, taking into consideration all the potential pitfalls such as absenteeism, stock shortages, adverse weather and technology failure.
Mandy Holford is Director of Customer Services at Echo-U
Echo-U is an established owner-managed contact centre based in Newcastle and Bournemouth.
It is committed to creating growth for its clients, including many of the UK’s biggest brands, by managing their customer relationships through combining quality conversations with the best customer experience.
The company provides customer contact solutions across inbound and outbound call centres, social media and webchat channels.
For additional information on Echo-U visit their Website