Holidays in a call center can be extremely stressful. Companies see the shopping season as an opportunity to connect with new customers and grow sales, but as call volume increases, so can frustration among both customer and agents. Unfortunately, the holidays are also a time of major distraction. Managers need their teams to be focused on doing their best work, but the general bustle of the season creates major road blocks to productivity and engagement on the job.
Keeping your customer service team plugged in during the holidays can be a challenge, so here are three tips to keep your agents motivated through the New Year.
It’s likely that your company boosts call center agents during the holidays with contract or temporary employees. While they can be helpful, your experienced veterans are the key to keeping things humming. They can handle nonstandard issues far more quickly and efficiently than a newbie, and you need to ensure that you have as many veterans on the job as possible between November and January to keep things running smoothly.
Consider rewarding days off in the spring and summer for perfect attendance during the holidays. You may offer extra overtime (time and a half or double time) for veterans who pick up extra shifts during the holidays, and you can also create daily contests with cash prizes, gift certificates or day-off rewards to incentivize people to come to work.
Go Above and Beyond When Agents Go Above And Beyond
As the stress of the holiday season sets in, agents can “check out” as they go about their day. The increase in call volume and frustrated customers can create a situation where agents simply disengage and go into autopilot mode.
Given the stressful environment, it is extremely important for managers to recognize and reward team members who deliver exceptional customer service. Those rewards can be anything from gift cards or money to certificates and recognition in staff meetings. However you approach it, make it known that you value exceptional efforts during stressful times.
Manage without Micromanaging
First-call resolutions are extremely critical during the holidays. Everyone is stressed out, and if customers require multiple call-backs to get their issue resolved, they will likely be lost to the business by January. Agents will also become frustrated if they cannot handle a customer issue on the first try.
Call center managers must work closely with tech and operations teams to ensure that systems are online and operating efficiently. You never want a customer to call and hear, “our systems are currently down.” The brunt of the issue will fall on your agents, and if they have to push customers away because of operational issues beyond their control, they will disengage from their work.
Finding strong, engaged talent is essential for call centers all year long, and many firms struggle with their hiring processes. If your company is looking to reduce turnover, improve outcomes and increase retention among your CSRs, reach out to the call center recruiting experts at Contemporary Staffing Solutions today. We can connect you with the talent you need to keep your call center humming.