How customer service techniques can ensure a stress-free Christmas
With the holidays now nearly upon us, spare a thought for customer service teams who have to keep working right up to, and through, Christmas itself. For retailers, the gap between fulfilling last minute orders and the start of the sales is now measured in hours, while consumer electronics manufacturers have to be ready to deal with any queries from customers trying to get their new gadgets up and running. Add in telecoms and utilities, and of course, the emergency services and you can see that the holidays are far from quiet in the customer service world.
Christmas can also be a stressful time given the combination of over-excited children, alcohol, family get-togethers, and the pressure to be having fun. Over the course of 2015 we’ve given a lot of advice on how companies can improve the consumer experience, so to help over the holiday season, here are five areas where everyone can learn from those working in customer service.
1. Prepare yourself
In the same way that a company needs to provide its customer service staff with the knowledge and tools required to answer consumer queries, take the time to prepare for Christmas visitors. Have a plan for what you are doing and when, and try and avoid potential issues – for example don’t sit feuding relatives next to each other or let your children eat all their Christmas chocolate before breakfast.
2. Get your timings right
Linked to planning, make sure you get your timings right. There’s a lot to pack in over Christmas so prioritize and ensure you are on top of things. As consumers communicating with the contact center demand fast answers to their queries, so set expectations on what you are going to do, and by when, so that everyone knows what is going to happen.
3. Test your systems
Finding out on Christmas morning that the turkey won’t fit in the oven or the corkscrew has broken is a recipe for disaster. Obviously, it is impossible to test every eventuality in the run up to Christmas, but make sure you’ve followed customer service best practice and looked at the obvious areas in good time, so that you can fix any gaps before they escalate into disasters.
4. Be clear
Clarity is also vital at Christmas. In the same way that customer service staff must be clear in the answers they provide consumers, ensure that you avoid ambiguity when talking to friends and relatives. If you expect them to arrive (and leave!) at a certain time then say so politely, leaving no room for confusion in your communication.
5. Share the load
Customer service isn’t just the responsibility of the contact center and Christmas isn’t one person’s job either. Make sure that the load is balanced equally across the entire household, so that everyone has their roles and contributes to making Christmas special and, hopefully, stress-free.
This is the last 2015 post on the Eptica blog – have a wonderful holiday and we look forward to sharing more news, views and advice on customer experience in 2016.