‘Tis the season for crowded stores, busy online sales, and all the customer service needs that come with holiday shopping.
The National Retail Federation forecasts a strong Christmas shopping season. It expects November and December sales to increase nearly 4 percent over last year to $655.8 billion, much higher than the 10-year average increase of 2.5 percent.
Forecasted individual spending also looks healthy. NRF’s survey shows consumers plan to spend an average of $935.58 this holiday season, second only to 2015, when consumers reported an average planned spend of $952.58.
Top-performing businesses are gearing up to support customers during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Consumers will reach out with questions before and after purchases, contacting businesses through multiple channels—from telephone and email to web chat, SMS text and social media.
Proactive companies prepare for the holiday rush by making it easy for customers to find answers to common questions. Customer service teams understand that FAQs and knowledgebases should be up-to-date and easily accessible through desktop browsers, mobile apps and social media pages.
However, self-service and automated options can only go so far. When a customer is pressed for time, or if an issue becomes too complex to handle on their own, they will pick up the phone and expect to speak to a “real” person right away.
There are several strategies for handling increases in seasonal call volumes: hiring part-time and home-based agents, for example.
Another effective strategy is to outsource to a contact center services provider to handle the extra call volume. Outsourced contact center services providers such as DATAMARK are available to quickly ramp up service for clients who need help with customer calls.
Working with an outsourcer during the busy holiday shopping season delivers a number of benefits, including:
Significant Cost Savings. There is no need to make big investments in contact center facility space, equipment or communications infrastructure: the provider already has these in place.
No Hiring Headaches: Recruiting, hiring and training can also be a big upfront expense if handled in-house. An outsourcing provider can take care of this for clients, wrapping the costs into a contract that helps a client manage per-call costs much more effectively.
Better Management of Call Peaks and Valleys: Calls skyrocket after Christmas, as customers reach out to companies with how-to questions and product-return policies and procedures. In-house call centers are at a disadvantage with the roller-coaster nature of seasonal customer service. It’s expensive for in-house agents to sit idle during periods of low call volume, and it’s risky to not have enough agents available at seasonal peak times.
Because they serve many clients, outsourcers such as DATAMARK are more efficient and cost-effective through these peaks and valleys—calls can be routed to agents trained to serve customers of different companies, and staffing schedules can be managed wisely to minimize idle time.
To learn more about the benefits of outsourcing contact center services, visit www.datamark.net/call-centers or contact us at 1.800.477.1944.
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