For most businesses who partner with a BPO provider, busy seasons require the extra support of seasonal staffing. This is especially true for call centers that need to increase staff to meet the demands during peak holidays and event-driven periods. But in order to successfully get through these busy seasons, companies need the right combination of technology, people, and recruiting and training strategies so they can manage high call volumes and increased customer interactions without sacrificing quality – or their bottom line.  

In this three-part blog series, we dive into the details of what the right combination of tools, people, and strategies looks so you can partner with your next BPO partner with confidence. 

In part one, we focus on CX technology. 

The Right Technology for Busy Season Contact Center Staffing 

When it comes to keeping up with seasonal staffing, organizations need CX technology to manage call volumes and easily scale their customer service teams. We found that there are five key technology solutions every contact center should have during peak holiday and event seasons: 

  1. Workforce management (WFM) solutions to automatically manage seasonal staffing and scheduling. 
  1. Interaction analytics that can record 100% of interactions and provide insights in near real-time. 
  1. Intelligent IVR solutions that can automate low-level inquires and allocate calls to the right agent with the necessary skillsets. 
  1. Chatbots and self-service tools to speed up the customer journey and improve first contact resolution rates. 
  1. Cloud-based infrastructure that enables dynamic allocation of digital tools to agent workstations. 

Workforce Management Automation 

Workforce management (WFM) solutions allow call center managers to create schedules, track staffing needs, and schedule shifts with ease. 

  • For peak interaction volumes, the ideal WFM tool for seasonal staffing should be able to: 
  • Automate scheduling based on real-time call and staffing data 
  • Monitor staff variances 
  • Identify near-term operational challenges 
  • Provide full visibility into performance and reporting 
  • Automatically analyze data to know what type of coverage you need at a given time 

Call center operations can quickly adjust call routing to account for busy periods or staff shortages by monitoring staffing variances in real-time and identifying near-term operational challenges. Automated WFM tools can also automatically communicate with contact center managers and frontline employees to reduce overstaffing, meet service levels, and adapt rapidly as staffing issues arise. 

The most rewarding benefit of a WFM tool is that it provides increased productivity and employee morale since intelligent scheduling prevents burnout. This leads to an improved customer experience over time. 

Interaction Analytics 

A contact center without interaction analytics during peak call volumes is like a pilot flying blind. Interaction analytics, also known as speech analytics, is a critical tool needed to analyze performance metrics during peak call and message volumes and busy times of the year. It helps teams identify and respond to trends, optimize customer service levels, and maintain quality assurance. 

The right speech analytics platform will include features such as: 

  • Recording of 100% of calls 
  • Automatic speech recognition 
  • Live chat analytics 

VALDI is iQor’s proprietary speech and interaction analytics platform that uses cloud computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. It mines every available recorded interaction between agents and customers. Interaction analytics software like VALDI helps analyze audio data and provide immediate feedback on customer tone, sentiment, emotion, and even the stress in a customer’s voice. 

Another advantage is that it can provide agents with a distinct edge in cross and up-sell efforts. Contact center employees can leverage data captured during a call to identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Organizations can analyze the data further to identify which types of scripting or conversations lead to more sales for a positive impact on your bottom line. 

Intelligent IVR 

An Intelligent IVR solution is a phone automation system that automatically connects customers to the right customer service representatives. This solution eliminates long wait times, reduces abandonment rates, and improves contact center efficiency. 

The right IVR solution for busy holidays and seasonal rushes will include features such as: 

  • Personalized routing of calls to the right agent based on call type, skill, and availability 
  • Support for multiple languages with text or spoken prompts 
  • Integration with CRM systems 
  • Automated pre-recorded messages can help centers manage high call volumes 

Automated pre-recorded messages can help centers manage high call volume periods where staffing is usually stretched thin. It also reduces the risk of overstaffing. 

Chatbots and Self-Service 

When high call volumes occur, chatbots are an essential tool. Chatbots provide instant responses and self-service solutions without any human intervention from a contact center employee. 

To get the most out of a chatbot solution during peak call volumes, look for features such as: 

  • The ability to take customers through a series of steps on their own with no human intervention 
  • The ability to generate automatic responses based on a set of predetermined criteria 
  • Conversational AI to learn, remember and respond to customer input 

Chatbots also allow agents to focus on more complex customer interactions. The chatbot can be programmed to handle routine, low-value tasks or questions. This frees up staff time which can be crucial when busy seasons are in full swing. 

Cloud-Based Infrastructure for Dynamic Allocation 

At iQor, we use private cloud technology for an effortless connection into our secure MPLS network. With dynamic allocation, you can launch your support teams to any scale you need. Whether it’s for voice or non-voice interactions, the right cloud-based solution should be able to push the required tools to an agent’s desktop seamlessly — no matter where they are in the world. 

Contact centers are the backbone of any company, providing customer service for anything from sales to support inquiries. But when it comes to holidays and event-driven volume, frontline employees are put under extreme pressure to meet demands year after year. Tools like automated WFM solutions, interaction analytics, chatbots, intelligent IVR and more can help mitigate the risk of under and over staffing, burnout, and dips in customer satisfaction. 

Are you ready for the next big holiday or promotional event? Let us help you optimize your seasonal staffing needs with the digital tools and irresistible people that give your customers the best experience ever. 

Learn more about iQor’s seasonal staffing solutions.