You don’t need Nostradamus to predict the holiday season is around the corner, and that your customer care team will soon be up to their eyeballs in work.
Yes, the pressure times are here. And its painfully obvious that it’s the customer service staff that’s going to face the heat, day in and day out, once the holiday season rolls in. And that in no time their faces will be straddling the fine line between paranoia and panic; totally clueless as to how to keep their calm amidst mayhem. So, how do you pep up your customer service team for a full-on, sixty-day grind, give or take a couple?
Apparently, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Try these seven practical holiday helpers to ensure that your customer service staff doesn’t lose it, no matter what.
1. Lead by example
CEOs: No use biting people’s head off when stress gets to you. Rather, get on your toes. Lead by example. Make it to the sales floor as often as possible. Cheer up your employees. Chat with them. Summon their adrenaline. Of course, you will have a thousand things to worry about. Well, let your HEAD handle them. No matter what, your FACE should be a symbol of serenity. Your employees might as well follow suit – in the body and in mind.
2. Dangle the reward bait
Well, rewards and recognitions are two things that drive people to move mountains. And, let me tell you, no other time of the year is more apt for this than the holiday season. Rewards could be in the form of hand-written notes, personalized gifts, the latest gadget, gift cards, or even a simple certificate saying ‘Excellent Performer.’ This would help charge up your employees to perform more and better.
But then, why is it so critical during holidays?
Because holiday times are family times. However, in your case, and in your employees’ case, holiday times are business times. Come to think of it, your employees are sacrificing their family time for your business needs.
So, make it a point to drop in a word of appreciation or two for your hard working employees, every now and then. Praise, as the notion goes, is the perfect motivator for par excellence performance.
Even an impromptu buffet would help send out the right signals. According to the 2014 Seamless Corporate Accounts Food in the Workplace survey, 57 percent of the respondents said that food-based perks make the employees feel more valued and appreciated, and even 50 percent said food in the office made them feel more satisfied with their employers.
3. Get social media channels working
People love to hang out more on social media channels these days. Little wonder, Twitter is emerging to be great a customer service tool. So go ahead and appoint a customer service executive to manage your social media channels. This, in turn, would reduce the load on your phone and email support lines. But then, don’t silo yourself to one social media channel. Spread out. Just like Twitter, even Facebook could prove to be of great help.
4. Try customer service apps
With people spending a majority of their time on mobile devices, offering customer service through apps is pretty much in. ZenDesk – the leading cloud-based customer service solution provider is already helping 20,000 companies with its customer service app that comes fitted with latest service tools. However, its biggest plus is that it offers one-to-one customer support. Then there are other apps as well, such as Parature for Facebook, Smarter Track, Get Satisfaction and more. Even OpenXcell develops customer service apps for medium and large scale businesses.
5. Organize short training sessions
A short training session would do a world of good for your employees. So, just do it. Perhaps your employees could figure a cool little tool that might help them cope with high-pressure situations in a more pleasant manner.
6. Rope in seasonal staff
Well, you know the workload is going to go beyond your imagination during the holiday season. So, ultimately you will have no way out but stretch your existing resources to meet the sudden deluge. Or you could simply hire some part-timers, or temporary staff to take care of the additional load.
However, think twice before rolling them in the same shift. The blind, they say, cannot lead the blind. New to the environs, a new appointee would be absolutely clueless on several customer service aspects. So mix and match! Experienced ones could lead from the front, while the temporary staff could provide them up with some sort of back-end support.
7. Offer flexible working hours
Last but not least, ensure flexible working hours. You could make it from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. or whatever you think is right for your business. However, ensure that your customer team is available around the clock. This would ensure your employees don’t take any days off, and at the same time are there for their family needs.
Be assured, all these techniques are way too good, given that all them are tried and tested in the market time and again. The best part is that it gives instant relief to those suffering from severe stress and holiday homesickness, or whatever the case may be. So, go ahead and try them on your employees and let us know the results in the comments.