Did you have the kind of parents that made you finish your homework in your room when all you wanted to do was go outside and play with your friends? Could you hear your brothers and sisters outside having a blast while you were trying to finish writing your book report? For customer support workers, company-wide holiday periods and retreats can take them back to that time. While everybody else is socializing and hanging out, customers are still at their necks looking for help. A customer support system can never sleep if it wants to achieve full customer satisfaction.
Many companies all across the globe face such challenges regularly. This article will take a close look at what you can do to maintain quality support while also allowing your customer service team to be involved wholly in company events and co-exist with their colleagues without worrying about the support queue.
Understand Your Customer Support Load
How many phone calls, chats, or emails are you expecting to come through during the company event? Help desk reports can help you estimate the load you can expect based on the activity that happened in the past few weeks. Will you have folks that are traveling after or before the event? The event will be in which time zone? If you have done some tagging or filtering, you might just even be able to know how much urgent support you can expect, as well as the volume of support that isn’t that time-sensitive.
A sound customer support system should be able to provide you with such reports. Once you have this data, you will have an idea of what needs to be done. You can also figure out how much queue time will need to be covered and how long it’ll take.
Upgrade Your Self-Service Features
Having a clear and helpful knowledge base is always a plus all year round. Before a busy holiday season or a huge company event is a great time to start looking for ways to get even more customers/clients to help themselves. One way you can do this is by reviewing the most common questions your customer support system gets and then identifying the ones that can be addressed with updated or new help documents.
Another way is by encouraging your customers to first use the knowledge base you have in place by referencing links to it in your saved replies. Most people are usually happy to help themselves if they know how to find answers quickly.
Set Reasonable Standards
Trying to make your customer support system work exactly how it usually would during a company-wide event might be a tad bit unreasonable. There might be a few things that just can’t be changed. Do you have Success or Sales calls that you can’t afford to miss? Are there SLAs that need to be maintained? Where you can be a bit flexible with things, adjust your targets for things such as resolution time and first-response time. You can also open your queue size. Whether these are things you choose to share with your support staff or not, having an estimate helps you know whether things are going on okay.
Reduce Incoming Support Loads
If you can somehow reduce the workload, this can help maintain the quality of service to the folks that need help during the event. For starters, you can consider using auto-replies. Inform customers about the slower response times that they may experience during the event and when they can expect their responses. This will help reduce the “are you guys there?!” emails you’ll get. You can also tell your customers how best they can go about urgent issues.
Also, do you get a lot of responses when your marketing department sends out offer newsletters? Work with your other teams to avoid sending out “support trigger” emails. Ask them to help create a little space around the event so the impact of such emails is reduced.
Maximize The Support’s Coverage
For a customer service system that uses remote teams, the commute to and from the event can end up eating up a significant amount of resources and time. Huge coverage gaps can be created when entire teams are traveling simultaneously. Consider having some members arrive earlier than others, and some going back later so that you can have people working on the ground while others travel.
If you’ve got a big customer support team, there’s a high chance not everyone can come to the company-wide event due to different circumstances. Consider asking those that won’t be attending whether they can help manage the support load. Bonuses can be offered to those who are willing to do the job.
Consider Using Outside Help
Outsourcing customer service isn’t such a popular thing, and for good reason. That being said, it’s possible to have outside partners that do a fantastic job when it comes to helping manage some of the support load you have on your plate. Successfully expanding your customer support coverage via outsourcing cannot be done a day before the event. You have to be well-prepared and choose the right outsourcing partner as well. However, if you put in the work, you might even get the ability to scale your outsourced support coverage and give your in-house team some more space to enjoy the event.
Only you know how best your customer support system works, and only you can understand what needs to be done to keep it effective during company-wide events. When you’ve got a realistic idea of how you can maintain as much quality as possible and the resources you have access to make this a reality, you can choose the right blend of tactics and strategies to use. In most scenarios, a slight dip in timelines is something you should live with if your support team is getting a chance to bond with the whole company. Hopefully, now you can finally give your support the break they desperately need.