Ah, Christmas. For many people, it’s the most wonderful time of year. Businesses, on the other hand…

Frantic customers. Last-minute requests. An enormous rush to get everything done before businesses close up for the year. Not to mention higher than average call volumes — ouch.

In the UK, the average employee turnover is 15% — for call centre roles, it’s 26%. That’s a big jump.

High staff turnover is expensive; training costs, recruitment fees and loss in output all add up. And as the cost-of-living crisis continues to soar, budgets are getting lower, yet the demand for outstanding customer service is getting higher and higher.

The maths is simple: happy customers plus happy staff equals a successful business. So, a reliable and effective communication system is an absolute must at the peak of Christmas and beyond.

But how can you maintain your contact centre’s service level and ensure customer satisfaction without compromising staff well-being?

Pull up the data

Assessing your staffing needs can be tricky, but you can use data to help.

If you have the information available, look at past seasonal customer service trends to try and predict if demand will increase, decrease or stay roughly the same. With this knowledge, you can calculate workloads for the festive period.

Did customer service demand increase or decrease last Christmas? By how much? What date did changes start, and when did things return to normal? Considering many businesses extend their opening hours for the Christmas period, it’ll be helpful to use this data to manage workloads and staffing.

Make sure you continue to log this data for next year, too. The more data you have, the more prepared and strategic you can be year on year — leading to bigger success for your team and your company in the long run.

Communicate with customers

It’s important to manage customer expectations over the Christmas season. No one wants to be left in the dark, so if customers know when your help desk or support team is available, you’re far less likely to face any last-minute support requests.

It also helps to be proactive about the expected surge in demand. If you know your business will see more calls over the festive period, why not get ahead of the rush? List your holiday operating hours and all your available contact channels on your website or send a pre-Christmas email that contains all this information so that customers are pre-warned and prepared. ‍

Enhance self-service options

Self-serve is an emerging contact centre trend that can be incredibly helpful in managing seasonal customer service demand. Essentially, it’s about allowing customers to answer their own questions.

By enhancing your frequently asked questions, resource library and the user-friendliness of your website, customers can easily find the answers to their questions online, and they’ll be less likely to call your company. This can help reduce call volume and free agents to field more critical calls, increasing service levels and avoiding frustrations over long hold times.

Optimise your workforce

Service levels tend to drop if interactions take longer than usual or call volumes spike.

Sometimes, not much can be done about longer calls. But ongoing training and effective communication between departments are essential to make sure calls are handled as efficiently as possible.

Similarly, if an agent needs to transfer a customer to another agent, it automatically slows down resolution times. Make sure your agents have the proper training and knowledge to handle requests from start to finish.

Lacking a flexible workforce? That’s a pretty common issue most businesses see. Consider training your staff in backup skills; for example, if you have an agent who primarily deals with calls, teach them to run the online chat function, too, so that they can meet an influx in demand from that channel and vice versa. This will help to relieve pressure from different areas when needed.

 Outsource your business communications 

With a growing demand for different products and services, especially during the busy Christmas period, outsourcing has become common practice.

Professional telco services assist businesses with hosted communications between them and their customers for 24/7 support. It helps companies cut the cost of providing the service themselves and can include outsourcing various IT management services, such as help desk and product support, technology consulting, operational services and much (much) more…

Without adding a single person to your payroll, professional telco services can help fill any technical skills, knowledge or headcount gaps to ensure your business runs as smoothly as possible. So, why not branch out this Christmas and present your customers with excellent communication? It seems professional telco services are the gift that keeps on giving…

 Struggling to manage overflow? Need the help of several technical experts for a project? Being prepared is the best way to beat the rush as Christmas approaches. With Invosys Pro Services, you can outsource dozens of different services to our friendly and experienced team — and benefit from 24/7 support. Get in touch to learn more, or book a demo on any of our services today.