2018 Holiday Forecast and Outsourcing Customer Service
The holiday season is stressful on so many different levels and for so many different people. Businesses are particularly stressed during the holiday season, even though it is typically the time they make most of their money. They need to make sure they can keep up with orders, process refunds, and provide excellent customer service to drive in more business. Part of the resources businesses allocate to use during the holiday season is driven by the retail growth forecast issued by the National Retail Federation (NRF).
In early 2018, the NRF forecasted the growth rate to be between 3.8% and 4.4%. However, recently, they increased the forecasted growth rate to be at least 4.5%. This projected growth rate can send businesses into a scramble to find resources to handle customer service. These resources are especially needed for Black Friday and the Christmas season. Therefore, outsourcing customer service can be a savior for many businesses.
Outsourcing during Black Friday and the Christmas season
It can provide businesses much needed support to achieve their desired customer service level. Not only can this kind of support take the pressure off the business, but it can help drive in even more business during these critical times. This will allow the business to shift their workforce to keep up with demand while being able to offer excellent customer service. Then, after the busy season, the business can decide whether to continue using an outside company or whether to restructure their current workforce to adjust to a lower demand.
Companies specializing in customer service can help a business make a positive impact on their customers and respond to higher call volumes. When contracting a call center for their holiday needs, the business is given the ability to decide how many people they want allocated, the days and times they want coverage, and what kinds of calls they will be taking. For instance, call centers can make inbound calls, like for orders and customer questions. They can also do outbound calls, like those for resolving issues or even collecting on bills. The higher the call volume, the more employees can be put on your account. Furthermore, it allows the business to allocate their resources to other departments and projects. If the business needs more people on production rather than order taking, they can make these adjustments when they do not have to worry about customer service.
Call centers eliminate the need to train additional employees. Even if the business must adjust the number of outsourced customer service agents it has, they do not have to worry about training them. Additionally, they can even help the business service customers internationally. They can help internationally because a call center can keep employees staffed at all hours of the day, thus accommodating for any time difference.
Utilizing a call center or customer service center can save money for the business. It reduces staff by using someone else’s for their customer service needs. In addition to managing phone calls, these centers can also handle emails, live chat, and social media. In today’s environment, consumers use these platforms to contact customer service. In fact, many consumers might prefer this method because they can express their needs through writing instead of speaking with someone – especially if they speak a foreign language. Money is also saved because the business does not have to spend a lot of money on complex and expensive telephone systems. The call center will already have all the equipment.
As businesses grow, sometimes there are areas of the business that suffer. Unfortunately, as the number of orders grow, so does the amount of inquiries. This means the company needs more people to answer phones and provide information. This aspect of a growing business is sometimes neglected because the employees are so focused on getting the business to grow that they forget it will impact the staff and require more people to get the job done. Using an outside company takes that pressure off. If you choose a reputable company with good employees and the proper equipment, you can remove some of the pressure from your staff, so they can focus on growing the company. Of course, there could be times when an issue is escalated, and the call center involves the business, so they can decide how they want to handle it. However, it significantly reduces the number of routine questions and possibly the taking of orders. Therefore, outsourcing should be considered as a customer service solution.