Its that time of the year again! The holiday season is upon us and as much as we would like, we all cannot be Monica Geller. We all are guilty of last minute holiday shopping – whether going to a retail store or buying online. Since there is a rush in the shops and even the websites experience peak traffic, there is a good chance of the deliveries taking longer or a lot of returns and exchanges happening. This can invariably lead to the tempers soaring and the patience decreasing.
If you are in customer support then this is probably the busiest time of the year for your business and it can become difficult to manage your support over the holidays. Here are some ways to tackle the holiday rush while still embodying the spirit of Christmas.
1. Plan and Be Prepared
First things first. You need to plan ahead for the holiday season. This is something which needs to be done organization-wide. On a department level, creating a schedule or calendar of all the people available during that time can be helpful to take count of things. Also, this will allow the employees to plan their vacations and trips accordingly. At the same time, accommodate and appreciate the ones who are willing to work during the holiday season. It’s true that one cannot really compensate for being away from your family and friends during the holidays, but, providing work from home or a comp off can be an option. This will also send out a positive message to the workforce that the organization appreciates them going out of their way and has their back.
The holiday season brings along its fair share of chaos. The customers are impatient and the businesses see a substantial increase in queries about the order status, payments, to name a few. Automating some of the mundane, routine queries can significantly reduce the employees’ workload. Having the right helpdesk software can solve this problem. A helpdesk software allows you to automate the workflows and initiate automated triggers based on the occurrence of an event or time. For example, the moment the order is placed, a message will be sent to the customer, confirming the order. Similarly, send real-time updates whenever the status of the order changes (order shipped, out for delivery). You can also group these queries together and assign them to one queue. Thus, freeing up other executives to handle different queries.
3. Let Customer Help Themselves
The most common type of questions during the holiday season are with respect to returns and refunds. Creating a knowledge base of all the FAQs related to such topics will help in reducing the influx of customer queries. Additionally, you can create documents or publish blogs on your website to make the customers aware of any policy changes and help them help themselves.
At the same time, setting up an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) can provide an additional hand to manage the inbound queries by routing them to the most skilled executive to handle them. Thus, ensuring fast and effective resolution.
4. Listen and Stay Positive
The holiday season is all about fun and joy but can also be a stressful time. You need to make sure that your front-end employees have a positive attitude when dealing with disgruntled customers. Not only that, the executives handling other channels such as social media, voice, email, etc should also use a happy and cheerful tone in their messages. The customers might not be able to see these employees, but that does not stop them from leaving an impact.
5. Be Honest while Setting Customer Expectations
The customers also understand that the Holiday season is a busy time. Thus, it is better to communicate with them of possible shortages and schedules. It’s understandable, that the front end employees would not like to upset the customers, especially during the Christmas festivities, however, they should refrain from overpromising and then not meeting those promises. It is important to set the right customer expectations and if possible, exceed them.
With all these strategies at your disposal, you are now equipped to handle the holiday rush and deliver exceptional service to spread the holiday cheer around.