Ken Reid of Rostrvm Solutions shares five key tips for avoiding some of the challenges that many contact centres face at this time of the year.
It’ll be Halloween soon, but the biggest shock your inbound contact centre could face, just as you’re gearing up for the busy festive season, is adverse weather.
The snow of last winter is a reminder to be prepared for all eventualities – and then there may be staff illnesses to cover. Here are five top tips.
1. Plan and Assess What’s Happened in the Past
Plan your strategy first if you haven’t already. Focus on the reasons why people make inbound contact and consider whether you’d cope during a disruption. Is there likely to be greater customer demand? Use data and insight from previous years to help if you can.
2. Is Your Contact Centre Equipped?
In adverse weather would the contact centre run more smoothly if affected staff could work from home? Do you have the right equipment and are people trained so that they can operate remotely if required?
3. Think About Additional Scripting and Multiskilling
Another way to maintain productivity is to use performance-management stats to see which areas need more resource at peak times. If you have good information, you can make informed decisions, like using blending more effectively. If you do blend, check that staff are trained to work in their new areas – or perhaps they might need additional scripting or notes?
4. Consider Channel Shift
Being able to channel shift inbound calls can be a great help, as long as customers can still get an answer quickly. For example, use your interactive voice response (IVR) messages to provide a link to your website where customers can self-serve. You could put a list of FAQs online with links to a YouTube video on how to do something. Shifting channels will take some of the strain from agents who are already stretched, so they can concentrate on more complex tasks. It will also help to reduce wait times and shorten that queue.
5. Be Proactive
If you need to contact people with standard updates, say, about winter preparations or seasonal disruption, this could be automated outbound to provide proactive communication.
Part of planning is to start the discussion early with suppliers because it’s not just about the channels, or the cost, or how your service should make customers feel – it’s the whole thing combined – and needs careful consideration.