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VIDEO: Forecasting support team capacity amid the holiday season with Ekster, SendCloud, PastBook & VanMoof

forecasting support team capacity

On Tuesday 23rd November, we held yet another virtual meetup, dedicated to Black Friday and focused on one of the most stressful topics in customer service: “Forecasting support team capacity amid the holiday season”. For this webinar, we invited a group of B2C veterans who know the pains of dealing with the rush season like no one else. We talked to Stephanie Robilliard, Head of Customer Support from Ekster, Samir Zahoer, Head of Customer Support from Sendcloud, Valentina Cutello, Head of Customer Support from PastBook, and Justus Tobergte, Head of Customer Support from VanMoof

Hosted by Shaakirah Chettiar, our Head of Customer Experience, the webinar centered around a few topics that drive the holiday season:

  • How do you go through Black Friday in one piece, avoiding a massive backlog and making sure to give your customers the best experience?
  • How do you empower your customer support agents to do their best during the Black Friday sale and not feel overwhelmed with the amount of work they might be facing?
  • Does seasonal hiring make sense? How do you work with it so it’s more than just a short-term gain for the company and your team?

Here are our takeaways:

  • Preparation is key. However, surprises will happen no matter how much homework you do prior to the season, but by reviewing all possible scenarios you can increase your chances for success. One thing that has helped many customer support leads was about reflecting back on previous holiday seasons and focusing on mistakes and lessons learned in order to work out more efficient solutions for the future.
  • Start with a helicopter view — see what is causing pressure or could potentially cause it, involve your stakeholders and inform your customers for everyone to understand what the game plan is like. For example, if you expect a lot of orders coming in, it makes sense to let your customers know there will be delays in delivery before they place an order so they could make an informed decision, so to say. 
  • Enable your teams to work smart. See if you can use chat bots or self-service — look for unconventional solutions. 
  • Hire right. Seasonal hire, though oftentimes necessary, comes with too many side effects. Tracking your employee lifecycle and finding the breaking point might help you understand why people leave and reduce your employee turnover. For one thing, you can work out a way to give your employees a chance to shift to other departments once the holiday rush is over. That way you can avoid leaving people on standby and keep talent in the company. But be sure to hire people who have talents and interests that go far beyond customer service.
  • Talk. It’s the same old adage — communication goes a long way. But the truth is that it does. Being open and honest with each other will always get you to solutions faster. 
  • Promote accountability. Being the gregarious creatures we are, people are always after a sense of belonging, a sense of being a part of a community, having a say in certain matters. Thus, by giving your customer support agents a clear understanding that they have a say in the business will increase their sense of accountability. They will not have to struggle with this robotic feeling like all they do is answering questions for 8 hours straight. 

If you enjoyed this webinar and would like to join one of our many upcoming events, follow our feed and stay tuned for our regular online meetups!

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