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Blog

July 27, 2016
By Philip Barron

Calling all contact center trainers. We’ve got your back!

Introducing new and exclusive “Train the Trainer” content.

Great news everyone!

We’ve released a shiny new program and course offering for contact center trainers.

Introducing, “Train the Trainer - Planning & Preparation”. The first course in a complete series that explores the contact center training cycle in its entirety.

Release Information

You'll find the new course via our Learn LMS right now, on the new "Train The Trainer" program.

The course is made up of five modules, each bursting at the seams with completely new training content and engaging interactions.

Experiencing difficulty?

For students who can’t access the new course content as expected, don’t panic!

We very recently huddled around a magnetic whiteboard littered with post-it notes and pen scribbles that made sense only to us. Our sole focus, based on customer feedback; revisiting how training content is assigned by trainers, to specific employees within their center. Wasting no time, we completely shut down all role-based content assignment processes and developed an intuitive Program Assignment dashboard on our LMS at absolutely no extra cost.

So, without inundating this very blog with reams of techy jargon, should you have any difficulty accessing the new content, communicate the issue to your designated training department, who may need to assign you to the new content.

More specifically for trainers, if you’re experiencing difficulties with access to the Program Assignment feature, we’d highly recommend communicating with Account Administrator in your center, who can check your access rights to the feature.

We’re here for you

Maintaining concrete relationships with customers is a reality we’ll never shy away from.

Your feedback, be it super positive or potentially negative, will always be welcomed and appreciated.

Should you have any further queries or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Until next time, take care!

July 15, 2016
By Philip Barron

Are you a contact center trainer?

We've got new interactive training content just for you!

Today, we're bearers of some awesome news!

Our content development team are, this very second, putting the finishing touches to a shiny new course offering. Introducing, “Train the Trainer - Planning & Preparation”.

Here at The Call Center School, we’ve always been town crier advocates for how terrific training paves the way for first-class customer experiences. So, with the best interests of Learning and Development teams at heart, we’ve developed the new course as the starting point of contact center training cycle. The new course aims to help trainers develop the skills required to become competent in their daily role.

Release Information

You'll find the new course via our Learn LMS on Monday, July 25. The course will be available via the new "Train The Trainer" program.

The course contains five modules of completely new training content, so your current progress won’t be affected by the release.

Our first-hand center experiences help us understand you.

Over the years, our experts have trained classroom after classroom of students. With that, we’re under no illusions that training can be an extremely stressful role. As call queues continue to rise, trainers must extract maximum value from every second of allocated time. They must juggle their limited time like cool, calm and collected professionals, and adjust lesson plans to accommodate every student in the classroom.

If trusted training for contact center trainers is of interest to you, watch this space.

It’s not a topic we'll shy away from!

May 18, 2016
By Philip Barron

Effective Workforce Management

Five Essential Steps for Optimizing Your Workforce.

Let's waste no time. The ultimate success and lasting sustainability of any contact center relies heavily on effective workforce planning and management.

As every frontline agent on the call floor contributes to one of the largest cost factor in most centers worldwide, organizations and the products and service they offer can crumble overnight as a direct result of poor Workforce Management. Based on our own first-hand experiences of center life, we've learned over the years that effective Workforce Management is crucial to successful agent optimization.

Let’s take a look at what we’d define as the five essential steps of Workforce Management.

Step 1: Carefully collect and analyze historical data.

We set off on our quest for perfectly tuned workforce optimization by gathering representative samples of historical data. By analyzing the data, that’s commonly generated from the Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), you can predict future volumes and trends with confidence.

Historical data represents the number of customer calls and any definitive handle times derived from a representative time frame. To ensure no data aberrations exist, review the data you’ll collect carefully. As a result, non-representative data can then be normalized or discarded very easily before forecasting analysis begins.

Step 2: Forecast your call workload.

After you’ve carefully collected and analyzed historical samples of data, it’s time to study derived forecasting models, in order to predict future workload efforts.

Time Series Analysis is renowned in the industry as the most reliable forecasting model. You can use the model to isolate trend rates and seasonal patterns in predicted, future call volumes. Call volumes are then extrapolated into daily and hourly volumes and trends.

Step 3: Calculate your staffing requirements.

As we approach the halfway point, we’re laying strong, lasting foundations that support successful Workforce Management processes. Think for a moment about how you’ll calculate the number of staff your center requires to handle a specific workload, with a definitive time frame.

Numerous staffing models are readily available that take into account call arrival rates and queuing scenarios. The models help to accurately predict staffing and service levels. Staffing models allow you to experience the evaluation of various trade-offs, in order to determine the impact of staffing on service, productivity levels, and costs.

Step 4: Create your workforce schedules.

In the absence of workforce schedules, how can you confidently advise agents of the tasks and responsibilities they should focus on and adhere to daily?

It’s vital as we near the end of our five step process, that you create a set of workforce schedules that best match your workforce to any predicted workload volumes. Base staff requirements can then be calculated and paired with potential staffing pools, and all associated scheduling best practices, to facilitate the development of a clear-cut schedule plan.

Step 5: Keep an eager, eagle eye on daily workforce performance.

I tip my imaginary flat hat off to you. You're making great progress!

Before you return to the hustle and bustle of center life, you must consider how you’ll track actual agent performance against your staffing and service requirements. Physical call volumes, handle times, and staffing availability figures are compared to forecasts, to derive net staffing counts and make necessary, rational adjustments to meet service levels.

Remember, we’ve been where you are currently.

From the stress headaches and afternoon face-palms, to the Cheshire Cat smiles on the faces of happy agents, we’ve never disputed the renowned, mind-bending complexity of contact center Workforce Management.

Across a sea of contact centers worldwide, our experts have spent more than fifteen years suppressing the stresses of WFM and mastering systematic training approaches that support every single Workforce Management process.

Intrigued? Check out our comprehensive Workforce Management e-learning offering today.

Just one tap or click could change the dimensions of your center today!

May 12, 2016
By Philip Barron

Delivering effective customer service via social media. Where does your center stand?

Here at The Call Center School, our core focus and passion has, and will always be, developing first-class, engaging content that every cog of the contact center can enjoy daily and benefit from. From Quality Analysts, to Supervisors, to the frontline agents assisting your customers this very second, we leave no stone unturned in delivering the best learning experience we possibly can.

In recent times, social customer service has been a hot topic during our coffee breaks and casual meetings. With our own first-hand experiences and perceptions of center life being openly discussed and shared internally, we thought we'd capitalize on the opportunity and reach out to our customers.

So, as social media continues to dominate established, long-standing customer support mechanisms by providing a familiar, easy to use platform for agents to reach out and communicate with customers, how is social customer service being handled in your center? Are agents actively communicating with your social customers? If so, what are their thoughts and experiences to date?

From our point of view, as customer expectations continue to evolve to match the rapid growth of the popular social media platforms we all know and love, contact centers can no longer ignore social customer service or adopt mediocre, trial and error approaches to satisfy social customers.

What's more, the need for frustrating tone-based phone menus and generic, automated email responses is diminishing rapidly and there’s never, in our opinion, been a better opportunity for centers worldwide to embrace change and stay one step ahead of dynamic customer expectations.

We keep at the forefront of our efforts your personal and professional development, to deliver a truly cohesive learning experience that'll you'll be hesitant to close at the end of your working day. We welcome with smiles, open arms, open eyes, and open ears, your thoughts and experiences.

You won't find what we can offer your workforce anywhere else. Trust us to care for you.

Change isn't good. It's great!

April 11, 2016
By Philip Barron

How can trainers provide frontline agents with terrific training experiences?

The Trusted T.A.C.O.S. Model for Contact Center Trainers.

The lasting reputation and ultimate sustainability of any organization rests heavily on the shared efforts of every agent on the call floor. If half-hearted, unfocused efforts are the peak of the customer care on offer, contact centers and the organizations financially supporting their existence can, and have, crumbled overnight.

In broad terms of what customers deem as an acceptable quality of service, let’s imagine that you’re an everyday consumer. Would you hand over your hard-earned cash to a company that’s fronted by a floor of untrained, and so unconfident agents, every time you call for support?

As new hire agents autograph their contracts of employment, the majority smile at the assumption that they’ll be provided regularly with constructive learning and development opportunities. Nonetheless, the rife, eye-popping reality is that some corporate decision-makers still remain completely oblivious to the long-standing benefits of terrific training experiences.

Here at The Call Center School, we’ve always been town crier advocates for how terrific training paves the way for first-class customer experiences. With the best interests of trainers at heart, we’ve penned the short, very suitably titled, T.A.C.O.S. Model to reinforce just five of the many key considerations contact center trainers must take into account.

Let’s waste no time!

Time is of the essence.

As intriguingly surreal as the prospect may seem, customers don’t discuss their queries and concerns with a call floor of universal Umpa-Lumpas. Today’s contact centers welcome with open arms a workforce more dynamic than ever before. As a result, every agent brings his or her very own personalities, traits, and first-hand experiences to the center.

Over the years, our experts have trained classroom after classroom of students. With that, we’re under no illusions that training can be an extremely stressful role. As call queues continue to rise, trainers must extract maximum value from every second of allocated time. They must juggle all limited time like cool, collected professionals, and adjust training plans to accommodate every student in the classroom.

Can you adjust your training plan quicker than a Rottweiler chasing a kitten, whilst maintaining definitive focus on quality? Failing to prepare is preparing to fail and it’s too late to frantically make changes when a classroom of agents are seated and waiting to learn.

Actionable training efforts prevail.

Nothing prompts a Narcoleptic-esque nap more than a lengthy lecture or tedious training session. As you reflect on such mentally monotonous memories, it’s safe to say we’ve all been there, right?

As a dedicated trainer, do you regularly find yourself dazzled by bright wall projectors and presentation pointers? Well, there’s no better time than right now to inject established training approaches into your sessions.

If our trusted takeaways of center life have taught us anything, it’s that student participation and knowledge retention is boosted significantly with the injection of impactful, on-the-job training strategies. If trainers encourage students to avail from opportunities to learn by doing, students will never again count the classroom roof tiles in despair as you recite samey information from a projector screen.

Considering your customers is a must.

During training sessions, do you keep students continually up-to-date on the ever-changing requirements and expectations of your customers? The innocent inability for agents to simply satisfy every customer paves the way for the damaging domino effect of poor customer service.

As the criteria for faultless customer service continues to change with dynamic customer expectations, maintaining a natural degree of everyday, social competence is a daily task for all agents. Remember, customer service goes much deeper than casually responding to common queries and concerns.

Trainers must become practicing, positive advocates for the benefits of exceeding customer expectations on every single interaction. Who cares if your product or service is on every billboard and television network from your center car park to the moon? Your customers will take their money elsewhere if they continually receive consistently lackadaisical support. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Ongoing training efforts must never stop.

It’s a sad and shocking reality that some centers still deem focused training efforts as useless as an inflatable dartboard. While many centers may consider it a complete waste of time, resources, and cash, we’ll stand firm in our belief that training is a continual, ongoing process.

If agents feel that their personal development is being nurtured, they’ll naturally work harder to keep customers happy and excel professionally. It’s the responsibility of trainers to nurture every student by hitting home the positive outcomes of continuous training. Without an aligned, confident floor of agents, who communicates with your customers?

How can agents possibly sharpen their skills and maximize their potential with nothing more than generic new hire training? In the absence of continuous learning opportunities, you can wave goodbye to your top performing agents and, as a result, your most loyal customers.

Supporting your frontline secures your future.

Contact center training can be likened to any productive means of learning and development. If students are gathered in a featureless, vanilla training room and mentally forced to listen to a trainer dictate eye boggling paragraphs from a projector, students will naturally, and very quickly, begin to lose all focus and willingness to participate.

A mentally stimulating environment enables students to stamp out any personal finish lines of development. During your next training session, stop for a moment and look at every student in the classroom. They’re ready and waiting to learn and have invested their full trust in your training expertise. They're relying on you; don't let them down!

Sure, the Internet’s bursting at the seams with suggestive studies that depict dedicated training as much benefit to students and customers as non-stick Cellotape. We openly invite you to accept such information as certain fact. When you quickly realize the countless benefits of terrific training experiences, we’ll be ready and waiting to steer your customer service ship away from the rocks. So please be reassured. Your Training Department is of as much priority to us as your every other cog in your center.

If trusted training for contact center trainers is of interest to your center, watch this space.

Until then, trust your abilities and lead your frontline!

March 04, 2016
By Philip Barron

We’re Updating our Call Center Supervision Program

Shiny new training content is en route to your center!

We’ve got some exciting news for our students!

Our content development team are, this very second, putting the finishing touches to a brand new Supervision course. Introducing, “Performance Management”.

Ask any group of contact center supervisors what their most important tasks are and one answer will generally stand tall above all others. Coaching. By effectively managing and coaching performance, supervisors can assist agents daily, in a continued effort to maximize agent potential and ensure they go the extra mile for every single customer.

Here at The Call Center School, we appreciate how difficult it can be to place priority on and maximize agent performance in a bustling center environment. The new course explores the five steps of a successful Performance Management program, using our very own E.M.I.T.S. model. From measuring agent performance against center expectations, to identifying performance gaps and scrutinizing agent behaviors, the course equips supervisors with the essential skills and knowledge required to focus their efforts where they’ll be most effective.

You'll find "Performance Management" via our Learn LMS on Monday, May 16. The course will replace the existing “Setting the Standards” and “Don’t Know, Can’t, Won’t Model” courses that are currently available within the “Call Center Supervision” program.

If you’ve previously attempted or completed either existing course mentioned, all current progress will be lost. If you've already been awarded Mastery Certification for the Supervision program, your certification will remain valid. However, on further attempts of Mastery Certification, you must complete any new course content before you're granted access to take the Mastery Exam.

With the introduction of the new course, you may also notice your current completion progress for the "Call Center Supervision" program change ever so slightly. There's absolutely no need to panic. To ensure your skills are kept sharp and continually up-to-date, user progress is always changed accordingly with the introduction of new content. In order to maintain your completion progress in Learn, we strongly recommend completing any new content assigned to you, as it becomes available.

Text-heavy presentations are learning approach we disagree with and avoid at every opportunity. Through the use of engaging and interactive scenarios, "Performance Management" ensures all students benefit from an educational and enjoyable e-learning experience from beginning to end.

Should you have any questions or feedback, please don't hesitate to contact us.

We hope you enjoy the course!

February 05, 2016
By Philip Barron

Keeping Your Frontline Agents Fresh And Focused

Four simple yet strategic techniques you can apply immediately to boost and retain frontline focus.

Dreaded employee turnover needs no introduction. It’s one of the most crippling circumstances organizations of every shape, size, and offering face every single day. More alarmingly, the troublesome trait transpires. In recent years, concrete statistics continue to reinforce the reality that those bustling center scenes we collectively devote our efforts to have the highest turnover rate worldwide.

Don’t panic; there’s no need to nervously nibble on your fingernails. With well-documented case studies of one hundred percent center turnover rates weighing down the web, losing employees at any cog of the customer service cycle really is a costly yet somewhat avoidable reality.

Here at TCCS, we put two thumbs up to committed agent efforts that streamline every customer interaction. What’s more, we appreciate the daily dedication and cognitive load required by supervisors to ensure every single agent is fresh and focused on every single call, email, and direct message.

With that being said, are your efforts to boost and maintain frontline focus a relative reflection of the quality of service being delivered?

No answer is necessarily correct here. What’s important is that you apply daily the best practices.

Demotivation Demystified

At the next available opportunity, casually and openly discuss with your agents what they dislike most about center life and you’ll quickly observe a common trend. That trend being the detrimental domino effect unmotivated agents have on both customer retention and turnover rates.

Based on our own trusted takeaways of contact center life, we understand first-hand that the repetitive nature of frontline tasks heavily influences those troublesome turnover rates. Be it telephone support, email assistance, or social customer care, agents adhere daily to something of a strategic yet repetitive structure in order to deliver consistent, quality service to every customer.

In the defense of agents worldwide, we as humans innocently become disinterested as a result of performing repetitive tasks or relaying the same information over and over and over again. Add to the workload spiking call queues, persistent pressures for better CSATs, and disgruntled customer disputes. Mounting agent responsibilities aren’t quite as chilled as computer chair races on the call floor, huh?

Having spent countless hours reciting generic, linear processes and information to customers, we hold close the reality that contact centers differ enormously from more traditional, nine-to-five office environments. We’ve recently spent some time discussing some simple yet strategic techniques supervisors can apply immediately to boost and retain frontline agent focus.

There's no time like the present. Let’s take a look!

#1. Hit home the importance of individual agent efforts.

Are your agents fully aware of their individual yet imperative contribution to the ultimate fate of the center?

Agents are the backbone of any contact center. Let’s be honest, would your center stay above water without their focus and willingness to assist your customers? In the absence of dedicated agent efforts, realistic targets are never reached, customers become increasingly dissatisfied and seek alternate providers, and centers effectively crumble.

Every center needs agents in order to stay on target and ahead of leading competitors. By actively telling agents how much their efforts are appreciated, they’ll naturally feel much more empowered to facilitate customers beyond their current technical and interpersonal ability.

#2. Preach the good word of effective teamwork.

Does every agent in your center understand the crucial importance of collective team efforts?

We’re not in any way, shape, or form going against Tip #1. While individual agent traits and personalities inject a much required, humanized element to every interaction, it’s important to consider that agents work as part of a wider team every single day. Strong, like-minded teams support a more empowered means of working by removing avoidable constraints that may potentially hinder a particular agent’s abilities.

Without tight-knit teams of contented agents, the sincere efforts of those agents who embrace positive customer service are washed away by a sea of rising, negative customer perceptions. Optimize the experience your customers receive by encouraging trusted teamwork on the floor. We’re all responsible for your customer’s journey!

#3. Prioritize and organize regular training opportunities.

Are you regularly organizing training opportunities to sharpen agents’ skills and knowledge?

Did you know? Empowerment is an immediately positive by-product of involvement. If agents are provided with continuously constructive training opportunities, they’ll appreciate your willingness to support both their personal and professional development. In appreciating your determination to keep their best interests at heart, agents will embrace compromise and give it their all on every interaction. Supervisors take note, the Learning and Development Team are your best friends!

Think about it for a second. How can agents (or anyone) improve if appropriate training means necessary are not provided? Can you realistically afford to wave goodbye to your top performing agents as a result of limited training and up-skill opportunities? Be it an hour-long classroom session on telephone etiquette, or a brief twenty-minute e-learning module on handling customer hostility, there’s no benefits of or excuses for completely disregarding training efforts.

#4. Appreciate every single agent.

Do you physically communicate with every agent and tell them how much their efforts are appreciated?

As humans, it can seem extremely easy, should we let it happen, to let our skills slip right through our fingers when we feel unappreciated. Center life is no exception whatsoever. If agents feel unappreciated, they’ll continually deem their efforts as pointless as a back pocket on a t-shirt. Mentally place yourself in their shoes. How would you feel?

Agents will become rapidly resistant to the positive impact of their efforts if they’re rarely made to feel appreciated. While chocolate cakes and cookies are always well received on the floor, appreciating agents can be as simple as a passing comment on a faultless customer call they handled. Remember, your ability to recognize and appreciate agents has an immediately direct impact on their performance.

Your agents are your center’s backbone.

While center life can be as stressful as changing the wheels on a moving Mustang, frontline focus really can be boosted and retained with immediate effect. There’s no need to completely restructure your center or dive headfirst into cash allowances and budgets to eradicate employee turnover. While employee turnover will always be a reality in any profession, the reason for leaving stated on any exit interview form should never be, “No support provided. I’ve found a better opportunity”, or anything as equally negative.

If agents convince themselves, on the basis of their experiences, that they’ve been hired to pacify supporting financial bodies, their focus will frazzle and they’ll eyeball alternative employment opportunities.

So supervisors, waste no time. As contagious agent deflation flutters across the floor, associated, half-hearted service efforts have the standalone power to sink your center. As the electronic front of house for your brands, center, and organization on the whole, no other center team or development stream communicates with customers more than your frontline agents.

Here at The Call Center School, we’re forward-looking, sharp-witted professionals who can fully relate to and appreciate your experiences of contact center life. The tips provided aren’t the answer to all your customer retention headaches, but we know for certain they’ll help if applied efficiently.

Keep up the good work. Your supervisory efforts are as appreciated as they are mandatory!

January 13, 2016
By Philip Barron

Is delivering quality customer service really that important?

The true cost of poor customer service

As last month’s twinkling trees and delightful decorations now seem something of a distant memory, customer expectations show absolutely no signs of slowing down as we welcome another new year.

Here at TCCS, we recently had a rather riveting discussion about just how much frontline agents truly appreciate the importance of going the extra mile for every single customer.

Reflecting on our own experiences, we firmly believe that agents can’t possibly maximize and exert their potential if they aren’t mindful of the crippling implications of poor customer service.

There’s no time for turkey talk. Let’s get started!

What do customers expect?

One of the most common complaints of the modern customer is the inability to receive a seamless, satisfactory experience. Receiving such a quality service is a basic promise that customers expect from the organizations they choose to do business with. When they encounter roadblocks, they’re left with no alternative but to spend unnecessary time seeking answers to their queries.

Whether it’s patiently waiting on hold for 30 minutes, getting lost a sea of generic website links to simply pay a bill online, or writing a formal email when numerous Tweets are ignored, customers will very quickly question one’s offering, based solely on the service they receive.

Let’s briefly consider just three of the many inevitable implications of consistently poor service efforts.

#1. Customers and prospects will take their business elsewhere

Let’s be realistic. Would you continually pay for a product that’s offered with the promise of quality service, but the complete opposite is delivered?

A bad reputation based on first-hand customer experiences immediately suggests to both customers and prospects a collective, shared frustration with the quality of service being delivered. If ignoring customers and not respecting their requirements one day creates a positive impression, we’ll eat both our hat and yours.

Remember, a poor service stigma lays the planks required for customers to jump ship into the welcoming arms of competitors.

What’s an organization without a concrete customer base? That’s right, dead in the water!

#2. Customers use social media too

With the chains and shackles of sole telephone support snapped in recent years, customers are no longer restricted to seeking assistance or exclusively expressing their opinions with a phone to their ear.

It’s ancient history to note that every customer generally share their negative experiences with up to ten people. Getting down with the times, vocal customer venting has been amplified louder than a Motörhead concert, with thanks to the power of social media.

As of the third quarter of 2015, Twitter and Facebook averaged at 307 million and 1.44 billion monthly active users, respectively. Quite the eye opener in comparison to telling a handful of friends about a particularly poor experience you’ve received, huh?

You’re not a living, breathing extra from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Those voices coming through your headsets are not mental whispers. Those messages on your screen are not a mind-boggling illusion. Behind every interaction is a receptive human being with clear-cut expectations of a professional, dedicated service.

Your efforts as a frontline agent are more public than ever before.

#3. Every single, poor interaction jeopardizes your job

Waiiiit, we’re not poking holes in your performance. We simply believe that poor service efforts are much more costly than the monetary value that effectively funds your pay slip.

We’re not disputing that you could be one of the best agents on the floor. Nevertheless, it’s important to recognize that other agents may ignore, misinterpret and frustrate customers that undoubtedly question their commitment to your organization.

By appreciating the true impact of customer service and it’s parallel impact on loyalty and satisfaction, agents can focus on maintaining lasting relations with positive, very vocal advocates. While the center you’re based at may seem physically disconnected from the daily mechanics of your associated store, warehouse and website, today’s customers make buying decisions with service offering high on their list of requirements.

Effective, collective service is the backbone of your offering.

Your efforts as an agent are crucial

It’s an all too familiar circumstance that organizations become immersed in the process of reeling in new customers. From enticing discounts to flashy ad campaigns, we’re promised the sun, moon and stars as customers. That being said, we equally expect what we’re promised from the very moment we complete any necessary signup procedures.

Irrespective of center complexity or projected, expected offering, every single customer has a significant value that goes beyond their next purchase. Without your focused efforts and dedication on the frontline, customer impressions of the organization you represent will directly impact and jeopardize revenues, career structures and future center developments. Customers aren’t trusting the every word of your QA team or Supervisor. They trust you and only you to assist them in a time of need.

Remember, customers will always be more vocal and far-reaching than any fine-tuned PR campaign.

It's up to you to get 'em talking!

December 21, 2015
By Philip Barron

Exceeding Customer Expectations this Christmas

Five Festive Tips from The Call Center School

Well, it’s that time again. As children wait patiently for Santa Claus and our cameras become loaded with shots of happy times, the festive season is yet again upon us. While lasting memories are prevalent, frustration, disappointment and boiling tensions are also always rife at this time of year. Why oh why might you ask? Well, with stringent time, resources, and cash allocations, customers are right at this very moment scrambling to check every single item off their to-do lists before Christmas Eve!

Considering festive customer service from an organizational perspective, it matters not one fraction if you’re a family-owned business selling handcrafted Christmas tree baubles or a huge, comfortably funded retailer selling mass-produced goods online. Whatever your offering entails, customer expectations of a prompt, professional service can’t follow any closer behind every single customer transaction if they tried.

Being the cool, customer-centric team we are, we’ve learned to appreciate that the festive season is manic and heated not only for customers, but for service representatives too. We wholeheartedly understand that being on the frontline of customer service can be a particularly daunting, very challenging prospect, especially over the Christmas period. The good news is that we’re here to help.

With the season of goodwill in full swing, we’ve appeased (temporarily!) our very apt daydreams of turkey, stuffing, and homely fireside comforts to bring you our top five tips for spreading festive customer service cheer. Let’s waste no time!

#1: Smile

'Tis the season to be jolly.

It really doesn’t matter how you’re interacting with customers. What prevails every single time a happy, positive mentality. Believe it or not, a simple smile on your face has the standalone power to reflect a can-do attitude on your face, in your vocal tone, and even on your fingertips. It may come as a surprise, but smiling really is free. Utilize its power today to lay strong, lasting foundations for positive customer interactions going forward.

#2: Never, ever doubt your ability

Lasting impressions are just as vital as first impressions.

It's not a new, shocking phenomenon, but every single customer you communicate with expects a first class standard of service. There’s absolutely no room for any arguments or alternatives that suggest otherwise. Who cares if the product or service you provide support for is rated the best in the world? Trust us, if customer experiences are undermined by uninviting center processes or poorly considered service interactions, that amazing offering is as useless as an ashtray on a Harley Davidson.

#3: Always, always go the extra mile

Customer expectations must never be shushed or compromised.

Before anyone asks, we really aren’t preaching broken record politics here. Exceeding customer expectations really is the fundamental ingredient in the recipe of lasting relations and positive brand advocacy. While having real life web-shooters like Spider-Man would be awesome, we’re all living, breathing humans (for now!). We’re all aware that innocent, very natural mishaps do happen to us all, however being there for customers when they need you matters most.

#4: Keep giving the gift of timely resolution

Keep your average handle time low and your customer service efforts high.

The Christmas bug bites us all in some form at this time of year. With the season comes heightened stress and panic, which makes for limited time and short fused frustrations. It’s your responsibility to help customers as soon as they make contact. What's more, a well-structured process should be adhered to daily, so you can access customer information at ease and ultimately facilitate a personalized experience that caters for every single customer’s requirements.

#5: Squash any Scroogey Symptoms

Bah Humbug behaviors have no place during customer interactions.

Customer service embodies the warm, welcoming Spirit of Christmas. It’s about service, giving of yourself, and helping others at a time of need. Customer service isn’t selling, or taking, or wanting from customers. It’s about helping, giving, sharing, and guiding customers in a time of need and togetherness.

Let TCCS steer your 2016 success

Let’s face it, there isn’t a rock big enough to hide from the festive season in all it’s commercialized, universally recognized glory. Despite the happy memories and increased sense of joviality, customers will always expect contact centers to operate as if it’s just a normal day.

Being prepared for the festive period in your center not only ensures a great customer experience for 2015, but it also helps nurture relationships that branch into 2016. We hope our tips help streamline your center's processes. We’d also like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

We’ll be back in 2016 to continue on our quest of maximizing and optimizing contact center processes.

Until then, keep knocking those customer expectations out of the park!

December 14, 2015
By Philip Barron

Happy Holidays from TCCS!

Waving Auf Wiedersehen to 2015,
we've reflected on our journey so far,
to perfect how we’ll proceed,
reiterating globally exactly who we are.

Your continued support and commitment,
is very much appreciated.
We’d like take this opportunity,
to reassure our offering will never depreciate.

We’ll continue to work harder than Santa’s little elves,
to optimize your center’s needs.
Exceeding your every expectation,
will always be our highest priority indeed.

So from everyone here at The Call Center School,
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.
Kick back, relax, and enjoy,
and your training success we’ll steer.