Adaptability is paramount to success in the ecommerce environment, and when it comes to call center management, you must be able to respond quickly and precisely to the factors at play. Whether seasonal demands require you to bring in additional staff to support the introduction of a new product or promotion, your operations must be designed to scale at any given moment. This may be easier said than done, but here are four inside tips to help you quickly build up – or shrink down – your contact center with total control.
1. Forecast to the best of your ability:
Scalability and preparedness go hand in hand, and there are a few ways you can ensure you’re never left scrambling for a solution when the pressure ramps up. While some call volume spikes come out of the blue, you should have a good understanding of seasonal patterns by examining data from years past and recognizing historical sticking points. If you have a good workforce management system you can refer to the data collected (call arrival patterns, call duration, average speed of answer, abandon) during a similar period of time or promotion for more accurate forecasting results to guide your staffing.
“In the world of ecommerce customer service, your contact center must be designed to scale at any given moment.”
To ensure a smooth transition into stretches of high-volume call center activity, a blog from Enghouse Interactive recommended that you forecast staffing, infrastructure and facilities needs on a calendar laying out predicted traffic peaks and valleys. This will help get your operational and financial requirements in order and reduce risk.
2. Know the power of agent expertise:
Not all scaling situations call for the same type of support, and it’s important that you make the right decision when selecting between general assistance and more specialized resources. Depending on your brand’s seasonal goals and traffic forecast, you may need a highly trained set of agents for a given part of the year, while a shared call center solution may suffice for other stretches of time.
3. Have a call center partnership in place:
If you’re restarting your search for call center support every time you anticipate the need for additional seats, you’re missing out on serious efficiency advantages that a dedicated partnership can offer. While it’s important to assess the quality and consistency of various outsourcing companies, you’ll want to eventually build a connection with a contact center that understands your brand and can quickly rise to the occasion.
Look for a contact center with counter seasonality. A contact center that handles call for retail clients, will be busy during Q4. Companies in the tax preparation, travel, lawn care as an example would benefit from identifying a contact center with a vast retail client list, because those experienced agents can be transitioned to their account. The value of utilizing agents that are already comfortable within their surroundings, and have a proven to be skilled at maneuvering through a CRM and communicating with a customer would add incredible value to the program.
As a blog from KovaCorp, a developer of workforce optimization tools, pointed out, this can save you time, money and headaches in your scaling efforts.
4. Keep an eye on performance indicators:
You won’t always be able to rely on your call volume forecast when developing a scaling strategy, which is why you need to utilize real-time metrics and continually assess your contact center’s performance year-round. Avoxi suggested keeping an eye on factors such as rates of first call resolution, customer satisfaction and average handle time to determine if your operations are in need of an immediate boost.