Gearing Up for the Holiday Rush (1,954 words)
"Whatever your methodology, you need someone skillful as a monitor," Kislik says, adding, "Intentionally disrupt your seating plan" and place a trainee between two senior reps in case she hits a snag along the way.
And what about automation of the call center through Web integration? The most important thing is to provide a variety of response mechanisms so that customers can interact with reps in whichever way is most comfortable, says Kislik.
Keep Them Motivated
Kislik says that "the in-season of a call center is often like an emergency room"; people are particularly subject to burn-out.
To keep your call center staff (particularly the beleaguered TSRs on the front line) stress-free, Kislik recommends keeping "a lot of arrows in the quiver." In other words, provide a variety of stress-relieving techniques. These can include frequent breaks, fun food, a nap room and stress-reducing techniques like stretching.
Lands' End customer service reps handle some 10,000 calls per hour and process around 100,000 orders daily during the holiday rush, yet the company has a solid reputation for keeping its workers satisfied and motivated. Fortune magazine's annual Top 100 Places to Work survey ranked Lands' End high among America's workplaces because it's able to retain employees in an industry plagued by high turn-over rates.
Some creative techniques the company has successfully employed include: "States Bingo" which awards reps for making sales all over the country; "peak points" of $1 each awarded to reps who arrive early to work, stay late or pick up an extra shift; stress-relieving massages; and other fun events like theme parties.
And although it seems basic, says Kislik, a key point in reducing stress is reducing fear: "Don't have supervisors walking around like it's Doomsday!"
Put the time in now, and your holiday retail season really will be the most wonderful time of the year.