HOW HOLIDAYS AFFECT CALL CENTERS
The holidays are a hectic time of year. Businesses and customers both find themselves in a bit over their heads in parts of November and December, mainly because of the pressure and time restraints associated with the holiday season. It’s no different for call centers and customer service, as the industry tends to go through quite a few changes during the end of the year.
The peak of the holiday season requires all hands on deck – that’s why staffing is almost guaranteed to increase during the months of November and December. Research has shown that retailers can add up to 650,000 new positions during the holidays, and that includes positions for customer support within call centers. In fact, research from Bigcommerce has shown that almost a third of the hiring that happens ahead of the holiday season is for customer support. The call center industry sees a big uptick in temporary support representatives toward the end of the year.
This seems like an obvious statement, but it needs to be stated nonetheless. Just about every business sees an increase in both store and site visits during the holiday season, and customer service queries increase by as much as 75%. This means a call center working customer service for a company can expect to have representatives on the phone consistently throughout the day. This is all crucial for the success of a company because a good portion of customers – around 25% – consider poor interactions with customer service to be a deal-breaker for purchasing goods or services.
This tidbit seems odd but is one call centers should definitely consider during their day-to-day operations. Holidays are stressful, and often people tend to be a bit impatient – especially when calling into customer service. Research shows that 72% of customers expect a call center representative to have their contact details when they call in. Additionally, 47% want fast replies to their questions. People feel a bit rushed to get gifts and everything else they need during the holiday season, and they need a call center rep to help with that – which is why tension and expectations rise during the holiday season.
Site Traffic Increases
As we mentioned above, business understandably increases during the holiday season. The same happens online, with websites receiving up to 63% more traffic. When people visit a company’s website, they tend to utilize live chat software to answer any and all questions they may have about a product or service. Representatives within call centers are normally the ones manning these chats and have to stay vigilant in order to increase customer satisfaction and decrease wait times.
The numbers don’t lie – the holidays have an enormous impact on call centers. From staffing to how calls are handled, everything seems to increase tenfold. During times of chaos within a call center, it’s important to remember basic training and understand that you are there to serve the customer. Empathy and kindness will always be a big help, and it’s also good to remember that the holiday season will eventually end (even if it may not feel like it).