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A Mod for All Seasons: Meeting CX Demands During Peak Times

Think of the peak seasons for businesses. For a gaming company, it may be during the release of a new title. A streaming service may see spikes when dropping an anticipated season of a hit show. For an airport, hotel chain, or car rental company, it’s any period of high traveler volume, like spring breaks and summer holidays. And, of course, we can’t overlook the holiday rush for ecommerce and related businesses. Whatever causes those surges in customer or audience activity, typically means a similar increase in customer support requests.

Seasonal sales spikes can present a challenge to businesses trying to provide in-house support. If they staff with peak seasonality in mind, they’re left with agents sitting around waiting for customer requests during slow periods. But if you build your team for those slow times, your agents will be struggling mightily to keep up when phone, email, chat, and social support queries come in fast and furious.

Fortunately, there’s an efficient, cost-effective solution that provides the perfect level of support for all of your ebbs and flows. Here’s how your company can ramp up and scale back while delivering the same amazing support throughout the year.

Start planning now. Tempting as it might be to kick back and take a breather during your slow period, that’s actually the ideal time to prepare for your next peak season. Identify recurring issues that prompted support requests last time around. Learn from the previous season to make the next one more efficient.

  • Working on making improvements now may alleviate some of the demands on your support team when things get busy.
  • Your best teacher is your customer. What feedback did they provide, and what are they looking for from your support agents? From complaints to praise, take advantage of customer input to better align your services to their wants and needs.

Update your support material. As you review the volume and cadence of requests from your last busy season, ensure that those questions are properly addressed in the scripted responses and templates your agents are using with customers. (It’s also the perfect time for companies to anticipate the most likely queries for any new product offerings and plan accordingly.) Answer the following questions as a guide on how to prepare. 

  • Did your website pull its weight in helping customers find their own answers, or did it add to the problem? Now’s the time to resolve any web issues and bolster your FAQ. Make it easier for your customer to help themselves.
  • Are your knowledge base documents efficient, or were too many calls being escalated beyond your Tier 1 agents? Take the time to look over your phone scripts and email/chat templates. Revise any outdated content and add material that addresses any new recurring issues.

Meet your customers where they are. Sure, you’re planning to add support resources during your current operating hours. But have you considered adding hours and channels? Remember, customers are looking for help day and night, on weekends and holidays. And they’re not just relying on a phone call or email to get issues resolved.

  • Be prepared to respond to your customers right away. 46% of customers expect a response in less than four hours; for 12% of your audience, that response window narrows to just 15 minutes or less.
  • Make it easy for customers to reach you on their terms. Perhaps adding chat services can cut down on ticket times. Dedicating support resources to provide assistance on social media will also expand your reach; reading your replies may even help others who haven’t yet started the query process.

Call in the cavalry (Mods, in this case!). There’s an old saying about how the smartest people know when to ask for help. If it’s unrealistic to assume that you can recruit, hire, onboard, and set up a seasonal support staff, only to let them go months or even weeks later, then ask for a lending hand by outsourcing those positions. 

  • Look for a provider who can offer the flexibility you need, so that you’re only paying for the exact hours necessitated by your customer demands.
  • Determine whether you need to schedule those hours according to high points in traffic or by another measure, such as response-time requirements.

Preparing now for your busy season will have you sitting pretty when crunch time rolls around. Everyone will be working with up-to-the-minute material and be well versed in the latest support responses. They (and you) will also breathe easy, knowing that you’ve arranged for outsourced support experts to provide a seamless CX experience for your customers. Customers will notice that you were there for them when they needed you. And that’s a mighty valuable sentiment that every company should aim for.

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