For many call centers around the world, the holiday season has already arrived. And if you haven’t started to prepare for the influx of calls that your call center is about to receive, now is the time! In order to help you run your call center efficiently during this busy time of year, we’re sharing our best tips on how to prepare your call center for the holiday season.
Provision additional seats and phone lines
One of the most important things your call center needs to do to prepare for the holiday season is to make sure you have the right number of agents, seats and phone lines to help handle the influx of business you’ll receive. Contact your virtual call center software provider to scale up your call center, work with HR to hire temporary holiday workers, and make sure your phone lines are ready to handle the additional traffic.
Aim for lower than usual average hold times
If you find that your call queue fills up quickly during routine business times, just imagine how many callers you’ll have waiting on hold during the holiday season. If you have additional agents and phone lines already in place, you should also be able to limit your maximum queue size, which will decrease the time that your callers spend on hold.
You might also consider giving your holiday callers to option to skip the line entirely. During busy seasons, some call centers choose to include an option to request a callback or be transferred straight to voicemail. If you do allow callers to be sent straight to voicemail, be sure that you monitor the storage capacity of your voicemail box. There is nothing more frustrating than being sent to a voicemail box that is already full!
Make efficient use of automated call distribution
As you add more phone lines and agents to handle the influx of holiday call traffic, it’s important that you also edit your automated call distribution rules. These rules help route your incoming calls depending on a number of predetermined factors, such as the geographic location of the caller and your agents’ skill sets. Virtual call center software features like time of day routing and skills based routing can be customized to help deliver your calls more efficiently, making the experience better for your customers and your employees.
Tailor your IVR to the specific needs of holiday callers
One tip that’s sometimes overlooked by call center managers is editing your IVR system to be holiday-specific. The IVR is the first message your callers will hear, so it’s incredibly important to list relevant information on the system. For instance, you may want to edit the IVR message to say “happy holidays” or offer up specific information about holiday return policies or store hours.
If you find that you need to update your menu of options, be sure that you take the time to test the system for usability.
As you prepare your call center for a busy holiday season, remember that time is of the essence. Get a head start on the holidays and start planning now – your customers and your agents will thank you!