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Contact centre agents are key to a successful Christmas and a productive New Year

The Christmas season has arrived, and as presents are ordered and events planned, the hectic life of the call centre is about to reach even dizzier heights.

Peak call times become the standard, so, to help contact centres agents in their challenge to maintain excellence in customer service, here are three top tips for driving productivity and quality this Christmas – and beyond.

1. Ensuring seamless cross-channel communications

Omnichannel solutions allow agents to assess each customer through a single pane of glass, where previous communications are recorded across all channels. Voice agents can see past emails, and social media agents can view all the call history. Not only does this make the agents’ jobs easier, but it also means each customer is given a far more personalised and tailored experience.

The choice delivered through omnichannel is critical as it provides customers with the option to interact with agents in a way that they feel more comfortable. It also means that queries can be seamlessly transferred across channels when needed.

2. Employing the use of technology

Whilst teams mustn’t forget that these tools are nothing more than enablers, and that emotional intelligence sits at the heart of customer service, the value that technology holds must not be undersold.

Artificial intelligence and automation are the perfect tools to help agents manage the higher influx of queries throughout the festive period. Different types of requests require varying levels of engagement from contact centres. Below are some examples:

  • “Please could you confirm your opening times over the Christmas period.”

This type of request could be handled by an automated system, rather than taking up an agent’s valuable – and limited – time.

  • “I’m having difficulties with your payment system. I’ve tried multiple times using the ‘help’ option on your website, but have been unsuccessful. I’m getting quite frustrated.”

Other customer complaints or more complex queries like the above where customer loyalty and sentiment are at risk, do require more agent engagement, so it’s important that teams are given the bandwidth to respond as necessary.

Not only will this reduce the time spent on each call – so more requests can be responded to daily – but it also means that customers have their queries answered with minimal disruption and effort.

3. Equip your agents appropriately

Finally, do not overlook the pool of valuable resource that remains critical to business success – your people.

All too often, attention is placed on the shiny new tech that promises to ‘revolutionise’ contact centres; but all that means nothing if your agents aren’t supported. Both automation and omnichannel solutions should be implemented with the intention of assisting agents in their roles, alongside boosting customer experience.

For example, omnichannel supports the unique skillset of each agent, allowing them to operate through the communication channel that best suits them – as well as the customer – whether it is through the phone, email, or social media. Empowering your agents with the right tools and a supportive environment to offer the best customer service possible will only strengthen your business.

Customer service is for life…

… not just for Christmas. Undoubtedly, the festive period is one of the busiest times faced by contact centres. However, agents tackle incredibly busy working days all year round. Any improvements leading to a smoother customer experience during this period will continue to deliver even once the baubles and tinsel are all packed away.

A truly personalised customer service experience can only be achieved through balanced measures of technology and human interaction. This festive season could prove to be the launch pad contact centres need to elevate themselves to the next level of customer service.

Written by Paul Barclay, COO