The Holiday season proves to be a tough season for call center services. The asking is harder when your lead generation team is working on B2B projects. Business executives that you have on your contact list are more likely to be on a vacation and you cannot contact them to take the lead forward. Leaving emails or making calls to their office will hardly bring forth any response. Things are difficult at the end of the BPO firm as well. Staff and agents might be out of office and you will have to make do with whatever manpower you have on the table. Then, the biggest challenge you have is to keep the customer service agents from being cold to the callers just because the agent couldn’t take the day off!
Tough times call for different measures. Innovation is the most important ingredient of call center services. The trick to survive these lean days is to scale things down. If you are usually working with three phone numbers at the inbound call center desk, cut it down to one. But this single number must be well-attended at all times. Deploy fewer agents for the job, but make sure that they are responding to the calls promptly. You can be assured that the volume of calls at the BPO will dip considerably. You won’t get much of bottlenecks and that is a good sign. Callers understand that response times will be higher because of fewer people at work. When you schedule and plan your workforce smartly, you can surprise them with some quality answering service during the Holidays! That will earn you some brownie points because your rivals are more likely to be shut down all their operations.
Lead generation will be a cause of concern for the call centers. B2B telemarketing projects will be hit harder and making cold calls during the Holiday season is out of the question! The best way to keep leads warm and also touch base with your contacts is to send over Christmas and New Year greetings. Carefully draft emails that do not promote your brand aggressively but at the same time strikes a bell in the mind of the prospective lead. Your key aim is to make these contacts feel part of your business network, even when they are not technically so. This will make them feel special about the BPO services and when business is back on the plate, they will remember your gesture.
Finally, the Holiday season is the time that call centers must use in careful planning and strategizing. The New Year, 2011, will see some sweeping changes in call center services, coupled with some changes in the business model of BPO companies. More use of technology, more focus on quality and more dependence on non-voice means of communication: these will be the focal points for call center units. You can make use of this lull to revamp your business structure, see if you can do anything about your prices or redesign your website, etc. Utilize this time fruitfully!