Five Ways CX Teams Can Stay Agile and Adapt to Peaks in Demand
Demand for customer experience support varies based on cyclical trends, seasons, and new product or service launches. The Q4 holiday season is just one example of seasonality that companies need to prepare for. Depending on the industry, peak times ebb and flow all throughout the year. As an example, Awesome partners with a flower delivery client that sees a significant increase in demand in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. The increased demand can be approximately forecasted based on past years’ trends but your CX partner teams need to be nimble and pivot quickly based on the current year’s projections. For example, your team of 20 agents may be able to handle an average call volume during off-seasons, but during peak seasons you may even need to double that team’s size. Having a reliable CX partner with a bench of highly-trained agents ready to step in at those times can make a significant impact on how your company performs during those critical times.
Deploying an adaptable strategy should be top priority for organizations because when today’s customers are unhappy, they are much quicker to act. Roughly 61 percent of customers say they would switch to a new brand after one bad experience, according to a Zendesk report. To be unprepared for peak seasons and moments in time makes your business vulnerable to customer churn and revenue loss.
Here are five ways in which successful customer experience teams can be prepared for peaks in demand:
Bench Availability: The “bench” is a team of highly trained resources that are on standby with the intention of being able to flex in and out of accounts when needed. Nimble resources like this can move in and out of different brands easily in high demand times. When there is an increase in the number of customers calling in, will they have to wait for an extended period of time? Or will they get the support they need in a timely manner? During high-demand times, the length of time that customers have to wait is often the biggest differentiator between a good customer experience and a bad one. Having a bench of agents on standby to support during these times is essential. Brand partners don’t want to pay for the additional resources throughout the year, but rather need a CX team that has the capability to ramp up or down as needed. This requires planning, allocation, training, and development of those resources.
Training and Development: With training and development of resources that are on standby, timing is everything. At Awesome, our superstar ‘Team Leads’ work with brand partners to ensure they are proactively and accurately anticipating upcoming needs and preparing these additional resources so they are trained before the peak season begins. A key element to consider is that you will need to dedicate some of your full-time CX team’s time for training the bench agents and this will not be possible once the busy season is underway. Proactive planning is the key to success.
Applied Insights: With the right tools and technology, CX teams can effectively manage peak times without getting over-burdened. By identifying patterns and insights that can be delivered back to the brand team, many of the repetitive issues can be handled by a voice or chat bot or through a detailed FAQ document, freeing up agents to handle more complex tasks. For example, an agent may identify that there is a large volume of requests coming in to track the status of their order. The agent, together with Applied Insights, will help with crucial information. We can use this information to provide recommendations to the brand to implement a tracking system on their website to reduce call volume thus creating a better user experience with reduced CX costs. Without automation, your CX agents will spend a considerable amount of time handling administrative or mundane tasks, resulting in delays with urgent and sensitive queries. Automated emails and messages to customers based on their behavior, and chatbots, AI and FAQ documents are some of the most effective automation tools for providing customer support at a lower cost.
Proactive Notifications: Proactively notifying and communicating with customers about delivery issues, stock shortages, or product delays, is an excellent tactic to ward off an overwhelming increase of call volume during the peak times, and it increases customer satisfaction. Anticipating needs specific to the customer is a key aspect of personalization and makes the customer feel valued even though the notifications are automated. This is an incredibly effective proactive strategy that can significantly reduce the burden on your CX teams.
Employees First Culture: Customer facing teams are often under a great deal of stress during peak times. If the volume increase is caused by an issue in the product or service, the level of pressure on CX agents can be incredibly high. The best way to manage this is by going the extra mile to prioritize your team. Checking in with agents during the day and making sure they are getting breaks to unwind is essential. Recognition is another important tool to ensure your teams are feeling supported. If you want frontline teams to keep delivering awesome experiences (even when they’re under extra pressure), recognition of their efforts is key. Beyond that, creating an overall environment and culture of employees-first will go a long way in ensuring the CX team’s ability to perform well throughout the year and under pressure. This is where Awesome’s culture becomes even more important as we go the extra mile to provide our teams with everything they need to stay happy and healthy during the workday and continue doing an Awesome job for their brand partners.
If peak management is one of the issues your team is facing or you'd like to learn more about how Awesome CX can support brands with their CX needs, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.