For retailers across the U.S., the holiday shopping season is an important occasion. For many brands, with as much as 34% of annual sales being made during this period, the holiday season can be a make-or-break time.  

Whether brick-and-mortar or e-commerce-led, retailers see a sharp increase in inquiries both during and after the holiday season as consumers seek to establish product availability, explore features and pricing, track deliveries or return unwanted gifts. 

While November 1 traditionally marks the official start of the holiday season, the work to prepare the contact center for the anticipated seasonal shift in demand must happen well in advance to ensure happy holidays for consumers and retailers alike.  

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The importance of fast-tracking the hiring process 

Effectively ramping contact center support for the holiday season starts with speed to hire. In a manual process, finding the right candidates to fill hundreds of roles in a short timeframe can be overwhelming for busy talent acquisition teams. 

Technology holds the key to identifying, hiring and onboarding large numbers of agents in record time. 

How to slash training times and drive speed to proficiency 

Agent training presents one of the biggest challenges for contact centers preparing for the holiday ramp. Ensuring agents have the knowledge needed to effectively handle customer inquiries and deliver a consistent, year-round level of service while at the same time minimizing the length of training has long been a challenge for retail contact centers. Recent advances in technology have made it possible to slash training times from weeks to days.

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How to leverage technology to drive sales conversion 

The virtual equivalent having a dedicated team member coaching them to the best outcome on every call, agent assist technology delivers real-time support to agents as they interact with customers whether by phone, chat or email. Next best action prompts and knowledge base alerts ensure agents always have the most relevant information to hand, without the need to memorize facts, figures or processes.

The role of seasonal outsourced support 

During the holiday season, inbound inquiries ramp rapidly creating volume that cannot effectively be managed by your core contact center team. Whether managing your own contact center operation or working with third parties to deliver customer support, entering into additional outsourcer partnerships to manage the holiday surge enables you to continue to meet customer expectations while protecting your day-to-day operations. 

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