November 16, 2022

Prepare Your Holiday Contact Center Agents with These 9 Tips

Prepare Your Holiday Contact Center Agents with These 9 Tips

As the holiday season approaches, you can expect your contact center to receive more calls from customers placing orders and asking questions. Are you prepared for the additional call volume? The following tips can help.

1. Emphasize Proper Training

Proper training should improve the experiences of customers and agents alike. Now is a good time to evaluate your workforce and find KPIs you can improve through training. You’ll likely reduce call duration times and unnecessary transfers while boosting customer services.

When evaluating your approach to holiday training, consider the benefits of covering:

  • The most efficient ways to use your call center’s software.
  • Which post-call tasks agents should complete.
  • The importance of communicating with empathy.
  • KPIs you expect agents to meet.

2. Use Remote Employees

Depending on your contact center’s size, you might not want to bring more people into the office to handle increased traffic during the holiday season. Today’s cloud-based software makes it relatively easy to add remote employees to your staff. You can also use hybrid employees who work in person on some days and remotely on other days.

If you decide to use remote employees, make sure you:

  • Have a knowledge base that gives straightforward answers to common questions.
  • Cross-train agents so they have the skills to work remotely and from the contact center.
  • Offer flexible schedules that improve morale and help prevent burnout during the busy season.
  • Establish milestones and clear KPIs so remote employees can measure their performance without much supervision.

3. Enhance Your Agents’ Experiences

The holiday season can cause a lot of stress at work and home. Enhancing your agents’ experiences can directly influence their mood, motivation, and productivity. By keeping your employees happy, you also improve customer experiences.

Some of the most effective ways to enhance agent experiences include:

  • Using eNPS (employee net promoter score) surveys to better understand the challenges and successes your contact center agents encounter.
  • Adopting text analytics tools that can scour websites like Glassdoor and Indeed to learn what current and former employees say about working at your contact center.
  • Using speech analytics for data-driven insights into how your agents feel at work.
  • Reviewing metrics to identify potential signs of burnout before they become bigger problems.

4. Leverage Agent Scorecards

Some agents will excel in certain departments more than others. Analyzing agent scorecards can help you allocate staff members to the queues and departments where they do their best work. Agent scorecards should also give you insight into which employees need additional training before the holiday season.

Some critical metrics to measure include:

  • Average time on hold
  • Average handle time
  • Customer satisfaction

You can also break down agent performance by how well they introduce themselves, represent your brand, bid callers farewell, and ask customers whether they need additional help.

Scorecards should make it easy for you to see which contact center agents struggle to meet KPIs. Concentrate on improving their skills so they can help your business succeed during the holidays.

5. Offer Contact Center Agents Incentives

What incentives will keep your contact center agents engaged and focused throughout the holiday season’s busiest days? If you’re not sure, ask your employees what perks they would enjoy.

Your incentive program might offer: 

  • Gift cards to nearby businesses.
  • Free lunch for a department, team, or the whole staff.
  • Additional paid time off.
  • More flexible schedules and opportunities to choose specific shifts.
  • Personal fitness classes that burn off stress.
  • Free massages during the busiest shifts.
  • Tickets to local sporting events or other entertainment options.

6. Gamification Improves Productivity

Gamification dashboards can make work more fun and engaging. A dashboard that sets milestones and shows how agents move toward those goals will encourage employees to stay focused. Gamification can also add some competition that motivates contact center agents. For example, a dashboard might display: 

  • KPIs of the top five agents.
  • Comparisons that show average scores next to the employee’s score.
  • Agent scorecard details and how they compare to the rest of the team’s performance.
  • Call quality breakdowns that show opportunities for improvement and celebrate successes.
  • Comparisons that show how an agent’s performance has improved or declined over time.

7. Select the Right Technology

Adopting the right technologies can automate tasks and direct callers to agents trained to address their needs. For example, using the right dialing software makes it possible for your agents to call more people during their shifts without entering phone numbers manually. Dialers can also give your agents information that helps them finalize sales to specific leads.

AI technology can route calls more effectively to the right departments and agents. As a result, you lower wait times and transfers, giving everyone more positive experiences.

8. Employ Omnichannel Solutions

Some of your customers don’t want to talk to contact center agents. Adopt an omnichannel solution with self-service options. That way, customers can get the services they need via a chatbot, social media message, or similar channel. They will enjoy the experience more, and you’ll lower the number of calls coming into your contact center.

You get happier customers and less stress for employees. Everyone wins.

9. Maintain Your Phone Numbers’ Reputation

The holiday season brings an influx of scam calls. Consumers will be wary to answer unknown numbers. Maintaining your caller ID accuracy during the holiday season is crucial. An accurate caller ID can improve contact rates and instil trust in your customers.

Phone numbers that have flags or erroneous labels will likely be ignored by consumers. This is why it is essential to follow a strategy of monitoring, managing and mitigating negative phone number reputation.

  • Monitor your caller ID frequently for flags or erroneous call labels.
  • Manage your phone numbers by working with trusted partners and registering your CNAM data.
  • Mitigate the risk of receiving flags by engaging in proper dialing habits.

Find More Success This Holiday Season

The holiday season means that many contact centers will stay busy. Set your employees up for success by giving them the training, incentives, and software solutions that make their jobs easier and keep them motivated during the busiest time of the year.