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How to Keep Calm and Carry On this Holiday Season

by | Dec 22, 2021 | Perspectives

The holidays came in hot this year, and CS teams are busier than ever. Our data shows call volume since November 1st has increased by 200%! Support teams are getting hit from all angles by supply chain headaches, reopening of retail locations, and consumer angst.

The sentiment nearly all CX teams have during the holidays is “hold on, hang in, and keep going” but it doesn’t need to be this way.

We sat down with Lauren Panken, UNTUCKit’s Senior Systems Manager, on how she prepared her team for another holiday season. “This year has been the best year yet energy-wise,” Lauren told us. There is a calm surrounding UNTUCKit’s support team even when call volume has doubled over the last 30 days. In our conversation, 3 main lessons for a successful holiday season emerged: prepare early, leverage automation, and lean into customer-centricity.

So how did they do it?

Lesson #1: Prepare Early

If 2020 taught us one thing, it’s to prepare for the unexpected. For Lauren and the UNTUCKit team, this meant getting into gear well before the holiday season and creating an “insurance policy.”

“We made sure we had an insurance policy right off the bat. We added extra agents and started training way earlier this year so that our agents felt really comfortable by the time we reached the November and December rush.” 

Training agents can be a full-time job, so it’s essential to start early and arm them with the knowledge to be there 100% for customers. Sending agents merchandise to help them get to know your products, setting up shadowing sessions, and fun quizzes are all great ways to set them up for success.

Lesson #2: Leverage Automation

Lauren is a firm believer that automation is the way of the future, and UNTUCKit is at the forefront of CX technology, leveraging automation with Flip and

“Automation is something that is going to be natural in the CX world, and I’m really glad our team is getting accustomed to it now. Some people have a negative view of AI, but it really is allowing the agent’s role to evolve and improve.” 

On how Flip has helped UNTUCKit, Lauren explains  “You guys have added more direction to the way our team functions. The purpose was to take some responsibility off of our agents, and you guys did and continue to do exactly that, and it’s been super effective.”

UNTUCKit uses Flip to automate calls about order status, returns, and subscription cancellations. They are also leveraging NOAH to transcribe after-hours voicemails and save valuable hours for agents.

Lauren says, “The metrics speak for themselves”. Agents are less stressed, and a large portion of tier-1 calls never need to reach an agent.

Lesson #3: Lean into Customer Centricity

Like any forward-thinking CX leader, Lauren looks for interactions that turn a one-time customer into a lifelong customer. In practice, this means leaning into the customer experience despite unexpected hurdles. In Lauren’s mind, “obviously, everything that is going on is not the customer’s fault, and our priority is their well-being.” During the current supply chain fiasco, for example, UNTUCKit has leveraged its multiple warehouses to re-route products and maintain a close line of communication with customers to offer different items or discount codes for future orders.

Even in the face of logistical difficulties, great CX centers the customer and makes the process as smooth as possible. Finding these silver linings is especially important during the holiday season.

Now What?

Lauren’s recommendation is always to anticipate edge cases and prepare agents for the unexpected. Customers are inherently sensitive during the holidays and can take it out on customer service agents, so her advice is to just stay grounded. She likes to remind agents that “everything is temporary; you got this!”

Adding automation is easy with Flip. Schedule a meeting here.

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