Author: Kirsten Jepson, Senior Director, Marketing Strategy
Seasonality that spikes customer demand for products and services can be due to a variety of events from holiday periods to conference events and product launches. For business managers with product and sales responsibility, coordinating efforts with the contact center can help to ease the strain of meeting customer demand.
What Would You Do?
The holiday sales peak is fast approaching. You’re carrying the season’s newest hot item, which is rumored to be the coolest present under the tree this year. Your business always spikes in the 4th quarter with a bit of carryover into the New Year. But this year it’s forecasted to spike much higher than usual. For those three or four months, you know your contact center must ramp from 250 agents to 600. Finding a building to lease for that short of a time period is a huge challenge and investment. Desks, phones and standing up infrastructure that will only be torn down in 90 days will be costly and the time and effort needed to deploy it all puts a strain on resources. This product category’s sales volume is your number one priority, a mandate from headquarters. How will you make sure that the demand for service is met with the responsiveness necessary to ensure the needed sell-through? Online sales are great, but a majority of purchases also require phone support to complete the sale.
Additional considerations include the potential for adjacent sales through service and the opportunity cost of abandoned calls, assuming at least one third of those customers will turn to a competitor.
Why At-Home Agents May Offer the Best Approach to Scale.
The scenario presented above demonstrates that traditional land-locked approaches to scaling customer service to address seasonal spikes in call volume can be costly and hard to pull off without a hitch. One innovative answer is to consider ramping up customer service with At-Home agents. With a blended customer care model, handling the need for extreme scale over a short-term period can be both efficient and effective.
Reasons to consider At-Home agents as a means to scale include:
- Finding people familiar with and passionate about your brand and products
- Removing geographic limitations to find the right people, faster
- The average age of an At-Home agent is 40, accounting for more experience and a higher level of empathy and understanding
- Track records of experience that mean comprehensive training can be completed faster and managed in a completely virtual environment—mirroring the way agents will work
- At-Home agents work in increments as small as 15 minutes, allowing for scheduling based on real-time needs for supporting customers
- Business executives responsible for product categories and sales volume can help contact center operations managers take new approaches to ensuring that customer demand is met at the customer’s convenience. The opportunities made available through a more agile response to scale brought by seasonality and planned, or unplanned, events, can transform your company’s capability to respond.
At-Home agents can become your company’s secret weapon to satisfying customers whenever your contact center’s physical limitations become an obstacle. When customers experience seamless service because the contact center has flexible scale, the results include higher sales and more repeat business.