If you’re just getting around to planning for the holidays, it’s crunch time. Merchants around the globe, of both the brick and click varieties, are hard at work forecasting, planning, and shoring up processes for the rush that starts in November. If you want to close out your year with a major win, you need to be thinking about growing your support team; it’s a make-or-break element to holiday planning that you can’t afford to overlook. You may be dealing with customers inquiring about deliveries or how to assemble your product, or there may be an unanticipated social media firestorm about your company.
Now’s the time to finalize your plan to cover seasonal spikes. ModSquad has spent the past decade helping clients large and small plan for and implement top-grade seasonal support for service excellence. Here are five factors to consider when augmenting your customer service team.
1. GET YOUR TEAM IN ORDER
Batten down the hatches by assembling the strongest team possible. Whether they’re seasonal support or existing staffers, these are your front-line workers, the people representing your customer service experience. Now is the time make sure everyone knows the latest regarding your brand messages and products. Role-play with your customer service team. Are their responses pleasant? Are customers receiving prompt and thorough responses? You don’t want to find out those answers during the crunch period.
2. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Today’s consumers, especially during a busy holiday time, turn to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the recommendations and support they need. Make the effort to find new customer advocates. Use social listening tools to see what consumers are talking about now, from competitors and product features to day-to-day woes. How can your product can help those consumers? What can you glean from these trends to make your customers’ shopping experience better? Use all of this information to improve Q4.
3. SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE
This can mean a few things. If your company is global, ensure your team speaks and writes in the customer’s language. Are your support agents multilingual? Making your customers feel comfortable and appreciated during this season can go a long way toward building brand advocates. If you have a specialized product, be sure your team is fluent in the “language” of that industry. For example, if you sell premium wine gifts online, be sure your agents can pronounce Châteauneuf-du-Pape and speak intelligently about it.
4. ASSIGN WORK APPROPRIATELY
Assign your seasonal workforce the low-hanging fruit. Set up your escalation queues strategically by letting your seasonal staff clear out the calls or emails that require a simple prepared response. If you need help with more than direct support, be creative with how you utilize seasonal workers. Smart brands think about increased volumes in all areas of customer engagement. Make sure your website, customer forums, community pages, and blog are properly managed and moderated during this busy season.
5. USE SUPPORT TEAMS TO EXPAND HOURS
This will allow for greater call volume, and better accommodate today’s 24/7 customer. Don’t rely on your existing team to beef up your hours; ensure employee satisfaction by letting them plan their well-earned time off, and bring in the support team to fill out your expanded hours. And don’t forget your supervisors; make sure you have enough project managers and shift support to handle the increased workflow brought about by adding seasonal workers.
With time, these steps will become a standard part of your holiday planning. Going forward, we suspect you’ll embrace these ideas and use them to optimize your service programs throughout the year. We’ve seen countless clients reap the rewards of seasonal support — seasonal ModSourcing — for the past ten years.