With the end of the year approaching quickly, many companies face a mad scramble to increase their capacity. Whether you’re in the retail or service industry, you understand the struggle.
In this article, the team from https://supportyourapp.com/call-center-outsourcing/ discusses ways to handle any sudden influx of business.
Most businesses experience a lull in February after the mad rush during the end-of-year holiday season. This is the perfect time to review what worked and what didn’t. Companies should review historical data and analyze the latest market trends to better predict the peak seasons for the year ahead.
By doing this early in the year, you can formulate a strategy to deal with these surges in plenty of time. You’ll, therefore, have enough time to properly recruit and train new employees or institute new systems to cope with demand. You’ll also be able to allocate your resources more efficiently.
Identify Where You Need Support
Which department takes the most strain during the holiday season? Your support teams probably bear the brunt of the onslaught as they deal with complaints, package tracking, and many other issues. Your frontline teams, no doubt, also need assistance. Identifying who is most in need helps you to allocate resources better.
Consider Hiring Help
There are a few options here, depending on the department needing help. You can outsource the overflow of support calls to a third-party provider or hire seasonal employees. The latter option tends to work better with face-to-face support as they get the queues moving faster.
Beefing up your online or telephonic support teams is trickier because you must find people with the proper skill set and training. Therefore, it may pay you to look at outsourcing.
A third option is to utilize personnel in departments that are less active during this time. Say, for example, that many customers use their bonuses to pay off their accounts. Your billing department may not be as busy and may be able to handle customer service calls.
Incorporating AI-based solutions like chatbots and automated systems can be useful. The right CRM software, for example, can automatically acknowledge customer queries so they don’t feel ignored. Chatbots can handle simple questions accurately 24/7, freeing up your human consultants. You can claw back more time by automating tasks like order processing and data entry.
You can use this technique for both clients and employees. Offer your staff incentives to work overtime or additional hours during peak periods. You can also offer your customers discounts for shopping early or during off-peak times.
Start reviewing your IT infrastructure as early as possible to ensure it can handle the increased load. Now’s the time to consider software that allows you to scale your systems quickly, depending on demand. You can also look into load balancing to manage your servers better.
Outstanding inventory management will stand you in good stead during busy periods. Order popular products as early as possible to avoid running out at the busiest time of the year. It might also pay you to look into a robust inventory management system that makes it easy to manage your stock.
Can your customers find the answers they need, or do they have to call your offices? Reduce the workload by creating an easy-to-navigate knowledge base and other client resources. You might upload tutorials, list Frequently Asked Questions, and even post white papers. If your customers will respond to an app, it might be worth developing one.
Then, back up these systems with automated responses on various platforms. You could install a chatbot on Facebook to handle simple questions. While this is technically the customer reaching out for help, it still falls under self-service because you don’t need to involve your employees.
Where do your customers congregate online, and how do they prefer to contact you? You should offer a selection of options, including channels like phone, email, chat, and social media. It might also be useful to outsource this level of support to ensure that you send out a consistent message across all channels and respond quickly.
Keeping the lines of communication open between you, your customers, and your employees is critical. Let your clients know when your peak periods are and how these affect service. Ensure everyone on your team is on the same page in setting clear client expectations.
Ask your customers for feedback, and you might receive some helpful ideas for improvements. Act on constructive criticism to show your clients you value their input. Take the same steps with employees to identify bottlenecks and the reasons behind them.
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Have backups in place in case your systems crash or something else goes wrong. At the very least, have a clear reporting strategy to deal with disasters quickly.
Analytics and Data Insights
You can easily leverage data analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences. Use this to better prepare for the busiest time of the year.
Stay On Your Toes
Planning ahead means you must be ready to adapt the plan as necessary. Be sure to review your strategy a few times before the end of the year so that you can adjust it if necessary. If you’re dealing with an outsourcer, ensure they’re equally flexible.
Don’t rest on your laurels when you survive the upcoming busy season. Review your performance and start the cycle again.
It’s a Wrap
By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage your business during peak seasons. With the right approach, you can take full advantage of the buying frenzy and sail through the quiet periods afterward.