It is a business owner’s worst nightmare: phones ringing off the hook with insufficient staff to answer them, irate customers leaving nasty reviews online, and everything heading toward a complete and utter disaster. Unfortunately, once peak sales seasons arrive, this is what happens in many companies.
Customers do not want to hear that their call cannot be processed or addressed because telephone lines are busy. They shop with you because they feel treated like valued individuals. What can you do to avert this crisis?
Divide personnel functions
The principle of divide and conquer is effective when it comes to customer service during peak times. Do not rely on your agents to be jacks-of-all-trades who can handle any question a customer might have. It may be expecting too much from them.
Instead, divide them into groups, such as account queries, complaints, and technical queries. Within the latter, split your team even further according to your product line.
For example, if you sell printers and laptops, have staff who do technical support for printers only and others doing the same for laptops. Give customers number options to select when they call to route their call to the right person.
Hiring temporary workers to fill the gap during peak seasons has advantages and pitfalls. Undoubtedly, they will relieve the burden on your customer service staff. However, they might not have the requisite knowledge and skills to handle client calls successfully. This makes taking on temps a double-edged sword.
However, one way to minimize the possibility of disaster is to use freelancers. Many people offer their services part-time as customer service agents. If you find a few freelancers that meet your requirements, build a sustainable relationship with them. When peak times approach, book their services.
Peak seasons may become a business nightmare if customer service staff are not equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge to do their jobs productively. Some might keep customers on the line longer because they are not familiar enough with your company and its products. This causes a backlog of calls that might not be an issue in off-peak times but becomes critical when a peak arrives.
Use intervals between peak periods to offer professional development and training opportunities for customer service staff. This includes courses that help them understand your products and the company’s systems. It might also extend to training on dealing with difficult clients without ruffling their feathers any further.
Many customer queries can be resolved using self-service options on the telephone or via live chat with a chatbot. This includes tracking a purchase, checking account status, logging a fault, or amending customer details. Self-service options should be your first line of defense to prevent phone lines from clogging up with calls that do not require human intervention.
Dial800 offers a range of telephonic options that allow business owners to keep up with growing call volumes during peak season. The system uses automation and call tracking to ensure that every call is dealt with via the appropriate channels.
Do not compromise on service promises
As challenging as it might be when there are dozens of calls waiting, do not allow your customer service agents to compromise on the service quality your company offers all year round. Agents are working under extreme pressure, but this should be no excuse for not delivering on the company’s client service standards.
Remain encouraging of your service staff and remind them how important they are to the company’s success. Reward them with time off or other incentives for getting you through the peak season without too much drama.