The holidays are a busy time. With an influx of travel plans, gift buying, and end-of-the-year promotions, brands find themselves faced with the task of maintaining inventory, getting orders out the door, and ensure that their customers are left satisfied.
This can create stress for everyone and all the requirements that come with serving consumers. Travel companies have to deal with flight cancellations, delays, and stressed customers. Retailers complete thousands of orders, both online and in brick and mortar locations, and ship them out quickly. There’s a lot happening before families gather together and come January, companies will get even busier.
Returns, exchanges, support questions, travel issues, and more come at the end of the holidays and companies will be affected by an influx of support traffic again. How can support teams better handle this busy time? Here are five tips to offer the best holiday customer support possible.
1. Set Up Intelligent Routing Rules and Direct Access Points
Consumers have a wide range of issues. Travel delays, product questions, or general service issues have customers contacting support. Urgent issues, especially travel delays or cancellations, need to be addressed promptly.
Support teams should have defined rules for incoming communication. If it’s high urgency, the call should be connected to an agent as soon as possible. If it’s something less urgent like a product question, the consumer can be directed towards a Knowledge Base or FAQ.
Direct Access Points are useful to send consumers to specific points in the IVR tree or an agent. In the case of a flight issue, a specific phone number can be used to input their details for alternative options or get connected to an agent to find a solution.
Companies should be proactive in configuring channels to create positive experiences, especially in high-stress circumstances. Knowing that there are direct lines of communication can help with that.
2. Queue Control
Not every support request should be sent into a general queue and triaged to the first available agent. Queues should be set so that consumers are directed to the agent that can solve the issue efficiently.
By setting queue rules, less urgent issues can be redirected and resolved through self-service options. High priority issues will connect with agents. Managing support requests will lower wait times and get the issue solved faster.
Don’t use a net to bundle every support issue. Use data-backed strategies to determine how to intelligently create the right queues.
3. Use a Multichannel Support Platform
Mobile devices are the primary way many consumers shop, book travel, or request on-demand services. The smartphone is an all-in-one productivity device with apps and the mobile web along with voice and messaging options.
Agents need the ability to efficiently engage on multiple channels without wasting time switching apps to connect with consumers. During and after the holiday rush, every moment matters and a single platform that connects to every offered channel is important. It will improve both the customer and agent experience and satisfaction by reducing frustration.
4. Optimize Scheduling with Data
It might seem smart to have a lot of agents on hand “in case” of a rush of support requests. But the reality is that you might have long downtimes.
Your customer support platform should be providing you with a lot of data. This includes past holiday support traffic, number of agents, the average number of issues per agent, and more. Supervisors should be able to use this data to schedule support needs during the holidays.
Instead of thinking “more is better,” with actionable data, supervisors can take a tactical approach to how many agents are needed.
5. Offer an Identical Support Experience on Every Channel
During the holiday and post-holiday rush, consumers who need help are going to contact support through the first option they see. This might be using live website chat or contacting through help in an app. It’s important that the support experience is the same regardless of the channel.
Agents need to know how to communicate through voice, messaging, or through multiple channels simultaneously like a voice call through an app with media sharing through text.
An identical support experience ensures that consumers will have a positive support experience.
Plan for Holiday Support
The holidays don’t stop on the first day of 2020. It will continue into the month as consumers travel back home, bring back presents, and put off support requests until they return from seeing family and friends.
This time is also great for collecting important support data like average wait time, average time on call, and support efficiency. Digging down into the data will show how to improve and optimize support as well as highlight agents that went above and beyond through CSAT surveys.
Customer support is a year-round necessity and the holidays are even more important to the success of any company.