Handling peak-season ticket volume can push any customer service team to the brink.
The numbers behind Cyber Week showcase how demanding — and decisive — a company’s busiest period can be. During Cyber Week 2022, 196.7 million Americans spent $35.2B, and customer support inquiries saw 23% year-over-year growth.
To be fully prepared for your seasonal peaks, you can’t go in blindly. Having an effective strategy in place is paramount to successfully making it through your busiest times as efficiently and sustainably as possible.
Our How to Prepare Your Customer Service Team Ahead of Your Peak Season webinar aims to give you just that. We had support leaders Jordan Gesky and Tricia Berthet from True Classic and Calendars.com share how they’re getting ready for their upcoming holiday rush.
Peak seasons present numerous challenges to customer service teams. Sure, the increase in ticket volume is there, but dealing with it requires several additional tasks, including:
Agents need to be equipped with answers to your biggest pre- and post-sale questions. They should be prepped on your product catalog to deliver shoppers the specific info they’re looking for.
Support teams have to figure out how they’ll take on the increase in tickets. Will seasonal agents be hired? If so, how will new agents be mixed in with existing ones? What hours will they be active, and what’s your plan B if someone calls in sick or there’s an unexpected surge?
Teams should decide if it makes sense to set up priority queues. Is it better to have agents reply to tickets as they come in or provide expedited assistance to urgent cases like cancellations or exchanges?
During peak seasons, orders sometimes fall through the cracks (through no fault of our own) and arrive late or worse — get lost. The challenge for agents is determining how to stay in touch with customers so they’re kept up-to-date on their order status.
Busy shopping seasons often bring a lot of pressure to agents and customers alike. Knowing how to defuse a problematic situation can transform any negative shopping experience into a successful one.
There isn’t a single path to successfully handling your seasonal challenges. While the end goal is crafting a solution that works for you, consider the following tips as you devise your roadmap:
If you know there may be problems with shipping, returns, or anything else, stay in constant contact with customers. Something as simple as proactive email notifications, or having a banner on your homepage notifying people of delays, can satisfy more customers and eliminate needless tickets from clogging up your queue.
If you employ seasonal agents, don’t throw them in the deep end by starting them a week before your peak season. Instead, begin training months in advance and gradually give these reps more shifts so they get the practice they need to excel ahead of your busiest times.
Your support team doesn’t have to operate in a silo. As your customers order more products, you’ll want to work closely with your warehouses, couriers, and logistics teams to anticipate bottlenecks and inform shoppers of potential delays.
Overpromising to customers typically does more harm than good. When customers reach out, be honest and let them know what’s realistic and what isn’t. If a product can’t be delivered before a given holiday, communicate this to your shoppers — and then work on finding an acceptable solution.
To customers, your reps are the face of the company, and it’s important they help you put your best foot forward. One way is to respond to tickets in an empathetic way that engages customers. The special occasions linked to typical peak seasons are important to your shoppers, so strive to deliver positive experiences.
Seasonal spikes don’t have to catch you off guard. Tracking past performance to accurately predict how many tickets you’ll get makes proper planning and execution much easier. Not sure where to start? Take a look at least year’s numbers and then connect with your sales team to see how they compare to this year’s predictions.
Automate your most repetitive tickets with AI-powered tools like a chatbot. These can remove low-value tickets from your plate and let agents focus on more specialized, high-value cases.
What results can agents generate when they’re backed by the right peak-season support strategy? When peaks are effectively managed, teams can enjoy the following:
Getting your support team ready for seasonal spikes can seem daunting — but it doesn’t have to be. Our on-demand webinar, How to Prepare Your Customer Service Team Ahead of Your Peak Season, offers best practices for delivering on your KPIs and tips for automating workflows during peak times.
Our speakers, Jordan Gesky of True Classic and Tricia Berthet of Calendars.com, have over 30 Cyber Weeks between them. To get their first-hand insights and elevate your customer service before your next peak shopping season, listen to our full conversation here.