Holiday cheer can last well into the new year for customers and contact center staff

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The holidays are here, but it won’t be long before the glowing decorations are packed up and stored away until next year. It’s the same cycle annually, but it’s not the only constant that should remain.

As businesses prepare for the weeks and months ahead, they should take a moment to consider both their customers and contact center support staff, and the year they have just endured. It has been a difficult period for everyone, to say the least, but there are things that can be done to ensure that customer agents are supported beyond the holidays. In turn, agents will then be able to better serve callers throughout 2021.

Empowering customer agents

After attempting to make the best of the holidays, consumers will be eager to enjoy the gifts they have received or purchased for themselves – and exchange or return those that aren’t up to snuff. With retailers still on reduced hours and capacity limitations still in place at many establishments, customer support will be an even more important part of the post-holiday period. Shoppers and gift receivers will need assistance in dealing with any issues or challenges they may encounter, and they can’t simply rely on email to get the job done.

CBRE, a commercial real estate services and investment firm, estimates that the value of holiday returns could reach $70.5 billion for 2020 purchases. The company also predicts that the rise of e-commerce could spur the need for 400 million additional square feet of warehouse space to process returns over next five years.

Those returns won’t be processed on their own – they’ll require the assistance of an outstanding support staff to ensure that customers are taken care of in a timely and efficient manner. This can be difficult to achieve in a world of varying restrictions and social distancing guidelines, however. Businesses can help lighten the load by utilizing highly flexible voice solutions that bring the technology of the office into the home with minimal effort, allowing support staff to communicate with customers without skipping a beat.

Elevate staff with tools and solutions

Whether hosting a virtual holiday party or saving the festivities for an in-person extravaganza that can be held once the pandemic has subsided, businesses should take a moment to help their staff celebrate. This doesn’t even have to be tied to the holiday season, per se – it could simply be a moment to acknowledge their tremendous work during such a challenging year. From trivia night with prizes to an awards ceremony that rewards standout employees, there are many ways to help hardworking customer support teams feel valued and appreciated.

Beyond any formal celebrations, businesses should also take a moment to consider the ways in which they can show they care. The working environment is a significant factor, especially when a home or apartment now doubles as a personal office space. If the home office lacks the necessary equipment, however, it could be difficult for agents to provide customers with the support they need. For example, an outdated laptop could be slow, freeze up and may be more likely to crash, creating unnecessary delays for callers that will only add to the problems they are calling about.

By providing agents with the intelligent tools and solutions they need to perform their best, they will be free to focus on what matters most: the customer. Instead of becoming distracted by their own technical difficulties, agents can direct their attention toward customer inquiries and problem solve other issues involving a product or service. This will enable them to provide the best service possible and deliver satisfactory results that keep customers from switching to a competitor.

Unwrap the possibilities of future success

The last year proved to be one of the most challenging in history, not only for businesses but for each and every one of us. While it has been a time for people to come together, many remain physically apart. There are still ways for enterprises to show they care, and as a result, customer agents will be better equipped to serve stressed callers. By empowering agents with intelligent tools, they can offer the same quality of one-on-one service that they provided at the office.

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