Talking Turkey: Contact Center Support for Black Friday?
Talking Turkey: Contact Center Support for Black Friday
This Thursday, November 28th, here in the United States, it is a day many people look forward to all year. It is a time to give thanks for what we have. However, whilst this week is supposed to be about giving thanks, somewhere along the line, what it’s really become about, is the day after Thanksgiving. Probably the biggest shopping day of the year here in the United States – AKA Black Friday.
For those of you who are outside the US and reading this blog posting, and perhaps are not entirely familiar with the concept of Black Friday (UK, think Boxing Day), imagine leaving the house in the middle of the night, and lining up for hours on end, often in the freezing cold, in front of your favorite stores, coupons in hand, waiting for them to open their doors so you can make a mad dash (along with hundreds of other people) to get to the item you are on a mission to own. Participating in this retail madness, which has an uncanny similarity to ‘Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls’, is a necessary evil if you want to score the deep discounts that many of the retailers offer in-store on Black Friday.
Apparently, some people quite enjoy this activity. They see it as the thrill of the chase. But for many others, after eating a mountain of sleep-inducing turkey, a small hill of Brussels sprouts and sweet potato, just the thought of embarking on this expedition is exhausting in itself. These people do things differently. They do their research pre-Black Friday – just as the store-shoppers do, but the difference is, their research is confined to deals they can get shopping online. They prefer not to brave the cold and the mass hysteria. They can relax in the comfort of their own home, hot chocolate in one hand, credit card in the other, and snap great deals of their own!
Multichannel Contact Centers for Multichannel Customers
However, the course of true online retail therapy does not always run smooth! Things can, and do go wrong. Websites go down. Product shows as unavailable. The coupon code doesn’t work. A multitude of potential issues—-all waiting to happen—–all conspiring against the unsuspecting Manager of Call Center Operations as he or she is sitting down to enjoy their Turkey with all the trimmings. What do these issues have to do with the Call Center Manager, you may ask? These are online issues. Yes, they are. But when online technology fails, there to pick up the slack and field the deluge of calls, SMS, live chat and emails is the call center. So in addition to businesses making sure they are sufficiently and appropriately staffed in their stores, they also have to ensure they have a plan in place to deliver seamless, high quality customer service to their virtual shoppers. This means departmental cross-collaboration and planning to make sure their (hopefully multichannel) contact center is optimally staffed, that their IVR has been programmed to reflect any information their customers might be looking for relating to the Black Friday promotion, and that they have a business continuity plan in place in the event their system goes down.
At times like these, Call Center operations personnel are either relaxing, fully confident they have the optimum communications platform in place to help them meet the ebb and flow of customer demand, or they are reaching for the antacids. If you have your hand on the antacids, now is the time to check out a solution that will make sure your call center is set for success on Black Friday 2014.
About the Author: Alexandra Warner is the VP of Marketing at Platform28, a robust Communications-as-a-Service provider for the enterprise. Since 2001, Platform28 has been helping government agencies, enterprise and US Tier 1 carriers streamline their communications, drive business efficiency, and deliver an excellent customer experience.