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Handling holiday rush in the call center

11:23 17 February in Most Popular
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Holidays are all about putting up your feet and relaxing, right? Not if you work in a call center!

Businesses work hard to capitalize on the holiday sales peak. That means sales calls, customer care, and food delivery call centers need to go into overdrive.

Take, for instance, Valentine’s Day. Love is blooming. And so are food delivery orders. Our call center statistics for a single food & delivery call center reveal a 5X spike in call orders on this day. This meant 25,000+ calls on a single day.

Handling the Call Spike: Efficiency is key

But there is more to the story. These 25000+ calls were handled by just 80 agents. That means 220 calls per agent. In other words, a remarkable 98% agent utilization. (1)

We asked the call center managers how they managed? Here are some tips they shared:

  • Punctual logins.
    Absenteeism or late arrivals are difficult to manage on most days. (Also read: Call Center Workforce Management) But on festivals like Valentine’s Day, Diwali, Christmas, Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it’s unacceptable. The key is to prep your crew into battle mode and to make certain that absolutely nobody logs in late that day.
  • Scattered Break Times.
    Your agents will need sufficient breaks to ensure peak performance. But our managers suggest shuffling things a bit.
    Instead of fixed break times, juggle them through the day. As a result, you should not have more than three agents on break at any given time.
  • A Robust Call Center Solution.
    Nobody likes a show-off, but I’m going to go ahead and say it anyway: having a
    robust call center solution is critical for handling all the spikes. (Also read: How to select a Call Center

Ultimately it boils down to hard work

Eventually, it was impossible for managers to pull off the v-day rush without a driven, hardworking team.

With an average handle time (1) of about 3 minutes, 220 calls per agent meant that most agents put in an eleven-hour workday in order to answer all the incoming requests. Now, that’s some grit!

So how do you create a team this motivated? In work (as in personal life) it’s not about the one day you celebrate (or push your staff to work), it about the 364 days you work on building the relationship. Happy Holidays!