Peak Demand in Customer Support: 18 Best Practices & Strategies
Dealing with peak demand in customer support
Black Friday is looming. Support teams are getting ready to face the waves of contacts that will come their way. But whether you're an eCommerce company facing Black Friday, a travel company facing busy seasons in a post-COVID world, a logistics/shipping company, or a flower delivery service preparing for Valentine's or Mother's days, the same principles apply!
As a result, we've put together a support leader's guide that will help you navigate your seasonality/peak demand. We want to say thank you to 6 fantastic leaders, we couldn't have done it without you! Thank you to:
Louise Martin, Head of Customer Experience at Cheerz
Matt Dale, VP Customer Support at Illuminate Education
Marco Yim, Head of Customer Success at Inkbox
Jeremy Watkin, Head of Customer Support at Numberbarn
Hannah Steiman, Chief Operating Officer at Peak Support
Kristin Diaz-Rodriguez, Customer Experience Manager at Public Rec
1. Update your tools (Cheerz)
☑️ Review your FAQs: can you easily find all the information you need to solve each case? Do all the hyperlinks work?
☑️ Update macros & classification: are all macros updated and filed in the right place? Have they been updated in every language? Do we need specific macros for the situation?
☑️ Update your commercial policy: are there any specific discounts or offers for the event? Coordinate with the other teams: is the team aware of the event’s marketing operations?
☑️ What’s the procedure if any bugs pop up?
☑️ Update your chatbot with all the campaign-specific information for your business.
☑️ Update your calibration & reviews on Miuros / QA software.
2. Find creative ways to add capacity (Peak Support)
"Consider adding extra hours. You could bring on an outsourcer, add overtime for your in-house team, or bring in people from outside the customer support team to pull a few shifts on the queue. You can also shift some schedules around to start covering weekends. Adding even one weekend shift can reduce the Monday morning backlog, improving response times for the whole week".
Read on here
3. Prepare using historical and predictive data (Inkbox)
"Use your projected numbers for the holidays to prepare for expected spikes in volume. Where possible, take it further by building out more granular models that are appropriate for your business or industry (better to over-plan!). For example, you may know that on average, general questions about your product make up 40% of your queue, but during the first day of a sale, that jumps to 50% - build that into your forecast! Oh, and don't forget to account for buffer time for your team members!".
You know the drill by now
4. Cross-train folks for flexibility during the rush (Illuminate Education)
"Instead of handling each ticket the same, we started categorizing tickets into tiers. Using this framework, we realized that we could cross-train agents to handle tier 1 tickets on other products. Then we look at the average number of unassigned tickets per agent for each product and move people from their lower-volume primary product to tackle tier 1 tickets on their higher-volume secondary product".
You guessed it, more insights here
5. Engineering teams are your best friends (Numberbarn)
"Managers should pay close attention to the “buzz” in the center, looking for bugs and product issues that might arise. Recruit folks from engineering to be on standby so they can quickly squash bugs and make small product improvements as the need arises. Agents will appreciate the support of the entire organization more than you realize".
You won't regret it...
6. Effectively improving feedback to improve next year (Public Rec)
"After things calm down in January, we have a round-table meeting where everybody can be present to discuss what worked and, more importantly, what didn’t work. The whole team comes together for a candid discussion where we can reflect, air our grievances, and brainstorm solutions for anything that we can do better next time around".