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Is Your Customer Support System Ready for the Holiday Season?

For some, the holidays mean eggnog and light displays, but for others it means customer support delays.

Despite the best efforts of customer support managers, the end of the year continues to be one of the most stressful, unproductive quarters for customer support agents. Marked by long queue times, low CSAT scores and frustrated agents and customers alike, customer support as a whole is in desperate need of a better way to account for holiday surges.

On average, businesses experience up to 5x more tickets than usual during the holidays. As a result, employing temp workers is a necessary — albeit not ideal — part of the holidays. However, customer support teams have become too dependent on temp workers.

There is a better way to deal with increased holiday ticket volume: AI technology. Rather than leaning on temp work, you should be improving overall agent efficiency, and streamlining the onboarding process, with intuitive automation and machine learning. You know the holiday rush is on the horizon, so why not plan for it with AI integration?

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The problem with hiring seasonal workers

So the holiday rush is around the corner, you just need to onboard some temps and everything will be fine, right? Not exactly. For those that have braved a major holiday rush in the past, you know that temp work is ineffectual and expensive.

For one, you’re depending on temporary employees, who have no vested interest in the success of your company, during the most crucial time of the year. The holiday season is the big game — one that will make or break CSAT scores — and you’re wasting time and money bringing in ringers rather than training up your varsity team.

Onboarding is difficult and expensive for customer service agents, but this investment is utterly wasted on temps. The processes you teach temps such as intricate response templates, CXM macros, company best practice, customer support skills, etc. are all moot as soon as January rolls around.

Onboarding temp agents should be more than mere response and exception memorization, but rather how to best serve customers with empathetic, actionable support. AI systems offer agents recommended responses, which are historically proven to be relevant, so temps workers can save time on memoization, and instead can depend on agent-approved responses to best serve to customer needs.

Why you should augment agent work with AI this holiday season

There’s a better way to confront the holiday rush: just make your existing agents better. Sounds easy right? Well, it actually is. With the aid of cutting-edge AI technology, agents can accomplish the work of multiple temps, but with better efficiency, knowledge and empathy, thanks to machine learning.

Machine learning observes your CXM, studies how tickets have been correctly resolved in the past, and then offers this invaluable ticket resolution insight to agents. Machine learning technology compounds knowledge over time and improves with every resolved ticket.

So what does all this mean for improving CSAT during the holidays? Well, machine learning delivers intuitive customer support solutions in several forms:

  • Routing Protocols — Improve overall CXM efficiency with machine learning, which studies triage and ensures tickets arrive at the best agent for the job.
  • Recommended Responses — Augment customer support agents with recommended responses. Machine learning technology studies the history of resolved tickets, and passes this invaluable knowledge on to agents in the form of intuitive and applicable recommendations. Agents see an average 30% - 40% reduction in handle time thanks to recommended responses.
  • Automation — Automating the resolution of common questions or issues with historically-proven responses will offer significant relief to agent queues. Even automating a mere 5% - 15% of processes will result in immediate ROI. This means customers receive immediate responses, and agents receive less repetitive calls. Talk about a win/win, right?

There’s nothing artificial about the time- and money-saving potential of artificial intelligence in customer support. In the midst of a holiday customer support storm, AI makes current agents more effective and customers happier. The holiday rush is an opportunity to put your best foot forward, and introduce many new customers to the efficiency of your customer support team.

Equip your current agents with the right tools, and maximize in-house employee efficiency before considering temp work. Schedule an AnswerIQ demo and see for yourself how your CXM can easily and intuitively scale to handle increased holiday traffic with machine learning.

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Topics: Customer Support, Customer Service

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