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What Will It Be, Boon or Bust? 5 Planning Tips for Seasonal Spikes

Summer is still characterized as the slow time for business. Yet for many companies — particularly those in the consumer arena — that has been and always will be a romantic notion. For those businesses, July through September is the critical time for forecasting and planning the big holiday rush.

Let’s face it, we’re all hoping for results that bring joy and profits and yield an awesome company party. Nobody wants a bad January hangover and a company meeting/lecture about poor holiday performance. In order to reap the holiday rewards, a major part of your summertime plans need to be around staffing. Whether you’re responding to adoring fans gushing about your product or agitated customers wanting to know why the order they placed this morning isn’t coming until tomorrow (BTW, they selected three-day delivery), it’s critical that you have a a right-size staffing plan in place for seasonal spikes.

For years, Metaverse has helped clients large and small plan for, and implement, top-grade seasonal staffing for service excellence. Here are five top considerations that we hope lead you to a seasonal boom.

PROVIDE ADVANCE TRAINING
Train seasonal workers on your brand not just the product specs. Make sure they understand that although they’re there for a short time, they still have a long-term impact. Keep them fully aware of your services and what your customers will expect of them. This busy season is the best time to engage with your customers, and you’ll want your workers to truly connect with them and provide an optimal interaction. To set proper expectations, outline the scope of the job, with an accurate description of the work, deliverables, and payment terms.

REMOVE COMMUNICATIONS BARRIERS
Think multilingual. Your global presence requires that you speak the customer’s language and that includes your service teams. Making your customers feel comfortable and appreciated during this season can go a long way toward building a brand advocate.

MEET YOUR CUSTOMER WHERE THEY ARE
Don’t forget social support. Today’s consumers, especially during a busy holiday time, turn to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the recommendations and support they need. They may not be buying online but a lot of the customer’s impression of you will be formulated by what they find on the web. Augment your team to handle this many-to-many support process.

DELEGATE INTELLIGENTLY
Assign your seasonal workforce the low-hanging fruit. Set up your escalation queues strategically to take advantage of your seasonal staff. They’ll help clear out the calls or e-mails that require a simple prepared response. But you may need help with more than direct support, so be creative with how you utilize seasonal workers. Smart brands think about increased volumes in all areas of customer engagement. Make sure your website, customer forums, community pages, and blog are properly managed and moderated during this busy season.

EXPAND HOURS, BUT TAKE CARE OF YOUR STAFF
Use your seasonal workforce to extend hours to allow for greater call volume, and to better accommodate today’s 24/7 customer. Giving your team advanced scheduling input to enjoy seasonal traditions can go a long way toward ensuring employee satisfaction. And don’t forget your supervisors; make sure you have enough project managers and shift support to handle the increased workflow brought about by adding seasonal workers. You want to make the most of this support without overwhelming your existing staff.

Richard Egan

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