Halloween is nigh and the support team is on high alert. If you’re looking to capitalize on this festive discount rush, marketers have probably pitched irresistible deals for your customers.
Customers are gonna do what they do best with these deals. They’re going to buy.
All of this, however, means the support team is going to face more new customers and even more queries. A spike in tickets or having 2 agents on leave sounds benign on paper. Trust me when I say it’s not. We’ve been celebrating Halloween with killer deals for a while.
The rush that comes with it is what I want to talk about in this article. The challenges of maintaining a proper support service during the Halloween season and how you can overcome them.
Halloween isn’t just a time to trick or treat or cause the occasional mischief. It’s actually one of the biggest sales opportunities businesses get before the Black Friday rush. A few things that we’ve seen support teams suffer from during this spooky selling spree are:
More sales obviously mean more customers. Sadly, this also means you’ll see a rise in the number of tickets customers submit. Once you put out your trick-or-treat campaign, customers will flock to your store, increasing the stress on your support agents. Even if you have all your agents present, it’s still a huge challenge to manage an influx of tickets in your system.
A huge issue for brands launching discounts on Halloween is scams and false claims. Many “potential” customers will call up your support and ask if a discount applies to the product, they have a coupon or a code that’s not working.
In general, you’d have a protocol for such incidents. However, the Halloween rush is not something to be taken lightly. A few mistakes on the agent’s part and you’ll end up losing money in the campaign instead of cracking a profit. Customers are not always right and agents need to keep that in mind.
Unlike in-house support teams, another problem is the lack of context for outsourced support teams. This happens especially when you don’t have an in-house team that understands what Halloween is and what to expect. If you outsource to a service provider outside the West, this can become a serious issue.
Halloween has a specific theme and businesses all around the world like to capitalize on it. That being said, third-party service providers may not have the necessary context to adapt to your campaigns. This contributes to confusion, out-of-place lingo, and even conflict in claims.
Guppies at the helm
Although secondary, another common problem is having only guppies to face customers, because veteran agents aren’t available. By guppies, we mean anyone that hasn’t got the experience to handle the holiday rush. If all your experienced agents go on leave together that leaves your team not only understaffed, it becomes inexperienced practically overnight.
Guppies (or newbies if you find the G offensive) aren’t exactly the problem here. It’s the lack of guidance and previous experience that makes it a challenge.
Support teams usually end up being understaffed. Not because there aren’t enough agents, but because people are hired based on normal ticket rates. This means the Halloween sales rush is not accounted for. So, a well-staffed team on a typical day can become understaffed during the sales rush pretty easily.
On top of that, people go on vacations or, have emergencies at hand. Paired with an increasing number of tickets, this can spell out disaster for the Halloween campaign.
For many businesses, that’s a reality to grapple with. Managing support requirements with an understaffed team is one of the biggest challenges companies face during the holiday season, beginning with the spooky time.
Overcoming the Rush
So these are the problems that’ll riddle your support team throughout the holiday season. A good thing though is that you can overcome most of these with a proper tools and planning. Let’s check out how it’s possible,
Create Self-help options
Offering self-help options to your support system is a common practice nowadays. This comes in exceptionally handy during the times when staff is short. Self-help options can include a number of resources including Documentation, Blogs, YouTube videos, and even TikTok shorts.
Here’s our YouTube playlist as an example.
A great way to select which problems should have a self-help option is to check which problems can be easily tackled in less than 5 steps. If it’s more than that, then self-help will not suit the challenge. When done right, self-help can alleviate a lot of the Halloween rush.
Automations are a support team’s best friend. They help you forget about the trivial tasks that require almost 0 supervision. In the sales rush, there will always be repeated questions about certain products. You can easily automate with WorkFlows.
For instance, in Fluent Support, we can create a workflow simply based on the product and the topic of the ticket. Here’s the Workflow.
We checked for the Product and then checked if the message contained anything about the LTD. If a customer asks about this, we want to send a response. So we added that to the Actions section, and that’s it.
This small bit of automation can save a significant amount of time for your overburdened team which is honestly a huge improvement.
Use Canned Responses
Canned responses also save time the same way automations do. Canned or saved responses reduce the time agents spend on typing generic responses like “Thank you” and “Happy Halloween.” The best idea would be to store custom responses just for Halloween so you can add some personalization to your messages. The responses being pre-recorded doesn’t mean they have to sound like it.
Use metrics to delegate
In tough times your support data is a reliable way to find direction. Reports help in two ways.
Firstly they help you visualize the state of your support team as they perform under normal conditions. This creates a baseline for you to anticipate the Halloween rush. This lets you prepare the team accordingly.
If you see high Response times, your agents are struggling with solving the issues. In that case, it’s good to provide a refresher course to better equip your agents.
Similarly, high handling and waiting times mean your agents are spread too thin to attend to customers within a decent time. In that case, you’ll have to consider whether more agents are necessary or if automation can solve this.
All of this decision-making greatly depends on the data your help desk provides. So before weathering the storm better check your ship. If you adapt your strategy accordingly, you’ll face fewer issues.
Customer support is both reactive and proactive. A strategy that includes both is bound to perform better than one or the other. While preparing for the Halloween sales rush keep this in mind. Assess your team beforehand and provide the necessary training. Pair that with a robust tool and, let your support heroes work their magic to deliver a stellar customer experience.
Wishing everyone a very spooky October from the Fluent Support Team. Happy trick or treating.