How to handle customer support at peak moments
Customer support requires different care throughout the year. Peaks are inevitable, but how do you handle them without getting overwhelmed?
03 January
5 min read
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Whether the holidays are coming or are months away, customer spikes are inevitable. They’re why you see Christmas gifts in stores in September and BBQs in February. It’s never too early to start preparing. 

Holidays are the most important time of year for brands. They can win big, deliver discounts, and earn customers from both. But more business also creates a higher demand for customer support. 

Brands have crumbled and agents have fallen plenty over the years. Thousands of people buying at once is intense: they’ll demand answers and solutions ASAP. If they don’t get them, they might leave a scathing review, or never buy from you again. 

But some brands have made the most out of peaks by ramping up their customer support response. They recognize the demands and respond accordingly, scaling their teams.

But how?

Where do you begin?

And how can you make sure you don’t sink?

How to handle peaks like a pro

Nobody was prepared for 2020, but we can prepare for the years going forth. Handling peaks comes down to preparation, prediction, and careful planning. So, we thought, why not share some of our top tips on gearing up your customer support?

Outsource

Some companies double their staff for the holidays. But hiring temporary agents costs a lot more than outsourcing. Furthermore, you might not be getting the best agents for the job at hand. Staffing up doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Outsourcing your customer support means you can onboard more agents faster, giving you more people and less pressure.

Plan ahead

Seasonal customers have less patience. It makes sense, right? Things like getting a smart TV and it not working right away can be frustrating. For big holidays such as Christmas or Black Friday, you need a concrete action plan. 

No flying-by-the-seat-of-your-brand-pants.

For personalized support, you and your support team need an idea of what’s coming. They also need to know how to respond in ways customers appreciate. In predicting where things may come from, you’ll see results faster. 

Provide your team with a knowledge base or FAQ.

Prepare them by ensuring they know the kind of questions they’ll be fielding. Then, provide them with the means to field them. With a solid plan, you’ll boost your response times and thus, boost customer satisfaction. 

Inform

Keeping your team and customers informed can net loyalty. As well as an in-house knowledge base, you can implement tools to keep customers in the know too. 40% of customers prefer self-service over human contact and want to find answers themselves.

But to have a successful self-service solution, you’re still the ones behind the curtain. 

You can use tools such as interactive voice response (IVR) software, as long as it’s easy to use, makes sense, and is fast. The same is true for automated emails or web chats. You can program IVR software with data on account information or billing. That way, all the customer needs to do is press a button or click a link. 

Keeping customers and staff informed keeps urgent lines of communications open. This can be a lifeline, as long as you use the tools correctly.

Personalize

If you don’t understand your customers, you might as well be in another business. Many companies handle their customer support with a one-size-fits-all approach. But even when you’re using automated web chat or IVR, you need a human touch.

People respond when they’re being spoken to like humans. They like feeling listened to and that you care about their problems enough to fix them. Without personalization, your brand will come across as robotic. 

Show your company cares about its customers’ problems.

Encourage your agents to use people’s names so they feel emotionally validated and straight-up talk to them as you would a friend. In doing so, customers will see your company will go out of its way to help them above all else.

Omnichannel support

Multichannel support is a solution we should be thankful for. In providing customer support across different communication channels, all of your customers will feel catered to. The more channels you cover, the easier it’ll be for them to find or receive the answers they’re looking for.

Some people still don’t have the internet. Others don’t have phones, don’t like speaking out loud, or prefer typing. It all depends on the individual. Providing web chat, email, social media, calls, and FAQs leave the choice in their hands as to how they go about finding fixes. And who doesn’t love choice?

Prepare for peak moments and you’ll be golden

Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas, or Black Friday, peak seasons might be short but they’re intense. No matter your industry, you’ll inevitably be dealing with higher support volumes than usual at those times.

Having more people to answer to can stretch a smaller team to a breaking point. But there are ways to make peaks less daunting.

Following even a few of the tips above can help you make money while ensuring your customers have the best experience they can get.

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