As the holiday season draws near, around the globe, merchants, etailers, even department-store Santas feel their heartbeats increasing and sweat forming across their brows. For many of them, the year-end holiday season is their make-or-break time, and the need to prepare is immediate. Whatever else 2020 brings, even if many Black Friday events may be cancelled, know this: The past half-year has seen an incredible boost in online sales due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing. Digital commerce has been rising steadily over the years, and this holiday season is likely to require all hands on deck.
But to fill those roles, it’s worth identifying a solution for your seasonal support needs — things like helping customers via phone, email, chat, SMS, social media, forums, in-app, and more. Bringing in cost-effective, flexible help to get you through peak times will not only let managers rest easy, it will also help scale your operations. We know, you have questions. That’s why we’re here, so let’s get to them!
1. Why should I worry about scaling? I think I have what I need to get through the holiday rush.
A flexible seasonal support team can ramp up or down just when you need it, helping you reach your full potential. The holiday season can be an unpredictable time, and the need to have support may be higher or lower than previously planned. Even some of the best, most well-prepared companies can be caught with unexpected volume that exceeds or comes under expectations. Additionally, as customer needs subside, your seasonal workers can scale back, meaning you’re only paying for the exact number of hours you need.
2. So I can help more customers, maybe process more orders. Won’t bringing in seasonal support eat up any additional profits I might make?
Compare it to bringing in someone in-house to cover your increased support needs. Think of the costs associated with recruiting, onboarding, training, and then offboarding as the busy season ends. Not only are you not paying those costs by bringing in external help, but you’re saving in other ways. If support demand wanes, you still have to pay your in-house workers; a flexible provider will pull back on your support resources until they’re needed again. And if you’re in a region with high cost of living, chances are temporary seasonal support agents will ultimately be less expensive on an hour-by-hour basis.
3. How can I best use seasonal support?
Seasonal support staff may best be utilized by helping with basic customer inquiries (think Tier 1 level) that can otherwise overwhelm your ticket queue. Bringing in agents who can clear most of your queues with scripted responses or knowledge-base answers will free your in-house team to focus on more complicated queries or other initiatives.
4. Humbug! I don’t have time to train a bunch of new workers!
Not a question, but we get it. With the right partner, you’ll work with agents who are familiar with your tools and can easily adapt to your institutional processes. Ideally, they’ll have established knowledge of your product or service, assuming you choose your vendor wisely (hint, hint). Most successful engagements require minimal training effort on the client’s part; agent orientation is ideally handled by those providing the support staff, freeing you up to do your job.
5. Okay, maybe I don’t have to train these workers, but will I have to oversee them?
Ideally, the agents who are supporting your customers will themselves be supported by a well-established infrastructure that may include team leaders, project managers, account managers, and the like. They’ll oversee the agents working for your company, freeing you from that responsibility. You should feel comfortable delegating tasks that need to be completed without needing to micromanage. With your customers in good hands, you’ll find yourself able to focus on your own tasks — like figuring out what to get your sister for the holidays (she’s always so hard to buy for).
6. My product is very specialized. Can temporary agents really “get” my customers?
Some will, and some won’t. This is where selecting the right partner to provide your seasonal support staff is crucial. We can’t speak for all providers, but one of the things that sets our Mods apart is their passion for our clients’ products and services. Mods are fans of the brands they work on. Are you a fashion retailer? We’ll not only find Mods who check all the services and tech-savvy boxes, they’ll also be clothes hounds themselves! Dropping a hot new video game right before the holidays? Great, we’ve got Mods who are expert gamers! When it comes to providing outstanding customer engagement, this organic passion is key.
7. Where are these agents located? Will they speak my language?
You should be able to access temporary support staffers from any region you desire, whether it be native-language speakers who are part of your customer community or those using your language as a second tongue. A robust partner can provide agents not only in your time zone, but in your precise region, if that’s essential. Other options are to have agents located in your country to provide native-language support, or to utilize offshore support for budgetary reasons. Looking to provide 24/7 support? It’s a smart move, given today’s always-on customer. Whatever your option, the right provider will explore your options and help you determine the solution that’s best for you.
Hopefully we’ve alleviated some of your concerns and have helped you see that bringing in seasonal support is a viable option. Not only is it possible to find the right solution for your company’s needs, it can help you expand your reach at a time when there’s real opportunity to do so. So no more sleepless nights and upset stomachs at the mere thought of the upcoming holiday season. A flexible seasonal support plan is just the thing to bring you comfort and joy for the holidays.
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