When President Trump recently gave his annual State of the Union address the Politifact website crashed. So many people were logging into the fact-checking site to check the veracity of the president’s statements that it just crashed.
This is a common problem in industries such as travel and retail. Black Friday and other sales cause an enormous spike in the number of customers visiting stores or trying to use a website all at the same time. National and school holidays mean that there are certain dates when it feels like everyone is travelling at the same time.
But this concentration affects the customer service team more than any other area of a business. When an enormous number of customers are all trying to get your attention at the same time, how do you ensure that you can maintain the same customer experience that you would offer during a normal business period?
This excellent article by Fonolo suggests two solutions. You either need the ability to increase your contact centre resource flexibly or you need to deploy strategies that can buy more time. For instance, if a customer calls and is greeted by a friendly announcement that the contact centre is busy – they can wait or press 5 and an advisor will call back as soon as they are free.
In this example the customer is given the choice. They are informed that the contact centre is busier than usual and there will be a delay, but they can either wait or they can get on with their day and the company will call back as soon as there is an agent available. There is a delay in offering service to the customer, but the customer has been given control over the situation.
Resource flexibility is really only possible by working with a partner. If you run your own customer service team internally then you cannot hire additional resource so that the spikes in business can be handled – it would lead to idle resource most of the time. By working with a partner that serves many different companies you can alert your partner to potential spikes so they can draft in additional resource to serve you. The additional resource can temporarily be drafted to your team from other client teams.
Sometimes a spike can be a surprise, but most of the time it is possible to predict when and where they will happen. Retailers know when customers usually go shopping and they have specific dates planned for sales. Travel companies know about national and school holidays and other events that may trigger spikes in traveller numbers.
By planning ahead with your customer experience partner and exploring the historical effect of spikes on your business in the past few years, it is possible to work out how to resource your customer service team so the customer experience remains great – no matter how busy you get.
With our teams located in 74 different countries, Teleperformance has deep expertise in helping our clients to smooth out spikes in business. Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn if you want to ask how we can help your team create a smooth customer experience all year round.