5 Tips to Maintain Agent Morale During the Holidays, While Keeping Customers Happy
I love the holiday season. I enjoy celebrating and spending time with loved ones. However, the holiday season can be challenging for contact centers. It means higher call volumes, more customer service demands and increased sales support. That means longer hours and more late night/weekend shifts for your Agents.
How do you maintain Agent morale - and help employees juggle home and work - while keeping your customers happy? Here are five tips:
Offer split shifts
Allow Agents to split their shift into two 4-hour chunks instead of 8 straight hours. For example, an Agent works 7:00-11:00 AM, then has 3-hours off to meet friends for lunch and get some holiday shopping done. Then, they go back online from 2:00-6:00 PM to finish their shift. Depending upon your center's peak call volume windows, split shifts can improve coverage and morale at the same time. Just remember to keep split shifts optional. Otherwise, Agents become resentful about having their start and end times spanning too much of the day. Also, check with your Human Resources department to ensure this complies with legal and company policies.
Provide enhanced employee services
For example, some contact centers have onsite gyms, daycare, banking and dry cleaning available. That enables employees to get things done without having to waste time going offsite. It makes their life easier. Other contact centers offer shuttle buses to local malls so, employees do not have to drive there, or worry about finding a parking spot at your office when they get back.
Have "All hands on deck"
Create a program where employees from other departments help your contact center during the holidays. They may be able to answer customer emails. They could also handle back office tasks so Agents can stay online. In addition, invite your executive team to answer a few hours of calls to show their support. That was a huge morale building event at one of my past call centers.
Leverage cloud contact center technology
This technology can be easily scaled up. So, onsite Agents can occasionally work from home, just like your permanent remote Agents. That saves commute time. It lets Agents spend more time with family. It also helps you deal with challenges, such as snowstorms in Canada and the northern US by letting Agents work from home during inclement weather.
Use your IVR system and AI chatbots to reduce contact center volume
Modify your IVR messages to answer common holiday questions such as gift receipt policies or holiday store hours. Use AI chatbots to respond to "easy" customer inquiries. Both technologies help you cope with holiday call volumes, without burning out your staff.
These five tips can help maintain contact center morale during busy times. To build upon that, here is one final bit of advice. Thank your team! Tell them how much you appreciate their hard work. Show them how many calls/contacts they have handled and how well they have done. Make them feel good about what they have accomplished.