Prepare your help desk for Christmas 

By  Nils Rebehn

As Christmas approaches, time is sparse. It feels like there is so much to get done and yet no time to do it but amongst all of the festivities, present rushes and general Christmas runaround, it is easy to forget that life does not change. There is no escaping that customer service does not change. You still have to deal with the little things and there is nothing worse than spending your valuable time sitting on-hold, waiting for a response to your queries while being rotated between endless departments. Prepare your help desk for Christmas.

In a period where happiness and warmth is at the forefront of every customers mind, companies look to work harder in order to ensure that they do not upset the status quo. After all, it is the busiest time of the year and so those who work in this industry find themselves having to compensate. In preparation for the increased need for stellar customer service, teams will increase their workforce and more attention needs to be paid to customer satisfaction.

A Zendesk study anticipated that the overall volume of customers can increase during the festive period by up to 42 percent, meaning that it is more important than ever that companies are prepared for the upturn in business. The most important thing to avoid is an increase in your response time as this can lead to customer dissatisfaction, something that all companies will be keen to avoid as it can negatively impact their CSAT scores. There is no more important time to be prepared.

Lift your spirits with omnichannel

So, just how do you prepare your help desk for Christmas? Recruitment is key. You’ll find that so many companies are looking for temporary staff during the festive period and there is good reason for that. It’s a proven way to increase productivity in your business. Quite simply, the more agents you hire, the more agents there are available to handle the increased number of customers. Most companies will hire 10-20 percent more staff to meet the increased demand, a figure that is of vital importance. However, given the current climate, businesses could look to services such as omnichannel to further increase manpower.

One of the most frustrating things for a consumer is to finish your long day at work and be unable to receive the customer service that you need because the working day has ended. That’s where omnichannel is of quintessential importance. Omnichannel allows customers to seek the answers they need at any time of the day, from anywhere without having to worry about closing times, and rushing around unnecessarily. It is understood that now 95 percent of customers look for other ways to connect with companies.

Over the festive period, companies can expect to add half of their usual their traffic, with more and more emails to handle, phone calls to answer and flood their social media channels. At this stage, it becomes vitally important for companies to consider how their current team is structured versus what they require in order to best handle this increased demand. Ensuring they are prepared for this increase is of vital importance in order to get through the period unscathed.

A golden team, a golden dream

Often companies with smaller teams use a blended staffing model in order to maximise their productivity. It means that staff are normally cross-trained in order to be able to appropriately manage any and all requests without the need to seek out specialist members. In comparison, larger teams will often have staff members dedicated and specifically trained towards being able to handle specific requests. Prepare your help desk for Christmas by allowing them to operate more efficiently with greater avenues for escalation should it be required.

It doesn’t matter how your team is structured however when it comes to ensuring that your number of agents matches the level of demand. In order to ensure that average wait time, average handling time and the mere volume of tickets has to be considered and you must ensure that your staffing levels matches this accordingly.

It is generally considered that the most appropriate staffing levels can be worked out with this simple equation; average handling time should be divided by the average time spent per day and then multiplied by the volume of queries. This basic model will give a company a very good indication as to what staffing levels would, in theory, initiate best practice.

Once a company has established the correct and appropriate staffing levels to meet the demand of the festive period, it must then make sure that they have the appropriate facilities in place to deliver the same, fantastic standard of customer service that has been expected of them the rest of the year. Consistency is, in fact key, to retaining the reputations companies have worked so hard to establish. Helpdesk software such as Zendesk is perfect for providing agents the platform they need to deliver exceptional, consistent service in the most professional way.

By combining platforms such as Zendesk with smart staffing and an organised structure, all companies have the potential to deliver unforgettable customer service throughout the busy holiday period.

Ask us for help if you want to prepare your team for peaks and busy periods.

About the author 

Nils Rebehn

Founder of Guidoo Services and former Zendesk employee #100. Nils is a Customer Service Expert and a certified Zendesk Administrator.

Guidoo Services is "your guide to Customer Service” - the team offers a range of professional services and are specialised in Zendesk. Guidoo is a Zendesk Select Partner, assuring sophisticated solutions for your help desk.

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