Last winter we tracked the impact of the holiday rush on customer satisfaction, and a clear trend emerged. Satisfaction with customer service interactions measurably and consistently drops during the holiday season. And the reason? Not surprisingly, agents tend to be handling more tickets than usual. As the number of tickets per agent rises, customer satisfaction declines.
Sure, it’s not rocket science and an influx of contacts is a known issue retailers face each year. Still it’s nice to have the numbers to support what you know to be true, especially when you’re trying to convince management to invest more in your support operations. A new report from Dimensional Research, commissioned by Zendesk, leverages both hard and anecdotal data from Zendesk and 15 customer service leaders around the world to highlight and explore the challenges facing retailers today. The report covers everything from how to find additional support resources in-house, to using data to justify support investments, to tips for handling customer complaints through social media, to scaling without spending, and more.
Of course, if you want to make sure your customers remain as satisfied as ever over the holidays, the solution is likely more nuanced than simply hiring more agents (though that helps). According to Ellen, a customer service manager interviewed in the report, customers are more stressed, so quality of interactions—as well as volume—tends to vary seasonally. Rather than take more time with customers, who are also extra busy, agents have to “up the positive energy.”
Other ways to help agents keep pace with the increase in tickets might be to outsource support, or to train others in the company to pitch in for the season. Either way, the long and short of it is that having more people who are able to spend time on fewer customers increases the chance that customers end their support interaction feeling satisfied. What’s more, you can begin now and use this year to help forecast changes you’ll need to make in 2015.