Andrew Small

Three ways the cloud will be vital to your contact centre on Black Friday.

By Andrew Small, Vice President of Portfolio, BT Global Services.

Black Friday is just around the corner, and businesses are getting ready for action. With eager customers about to hit stores around the world, you have to use the power of the cloud to make sure the chaos doesn’t spill over to your contact centre.

The Black Friday sales aren’t exactly known for orderly behaviour. With mobs of people dashing to get the best deals on big-ticket items like TVs and other home appliances, supermarket stampedes have become a common occurrence — even in the UK.

However, your stores (and their websites) aren’t the only places put under pressure on Black Friday. With a drastically increased number of orders and purchases taking place, you’ll have people trying to get through to your contact centre all day long.

Making contact in the cloud.

To handle this surge in customer contact, you need the capacity to respond to enquiries as quickly as possible. So here are three ways hosting your contact centre in the cloud can keep your customers happy:

  1.  Add new members to your contact centre team.
    When Black Friday (and beyond) arrives, you’ll need all the help you can get. This means having the ability to add more agents quickly and easily. With a cloud-based contact centre, you can immediately increase your capacity to handle the high volume of inbound contacts.It also allows you to increase your call-resolution rate. By moving calls quickly between agents, you can put your customers in touch with the exact person they need to talk to — making the most of your team’s expertise and reducing repeat calls.And if you’re still pushed for capacity, you can turn anyone in your company into a budding contact centre agent at the push of a few buttons. This allows your people to join the team effort from anywhere, logging in from back-office telephony, their home phones and even their mobiles. Plus, you only pay for what you use — keeping your costs down.
  2. Allow customers to serve themselves.
    Your agents will be incredibly busy all through Black Friday, so give them a hand by taking a chunk of voice calls out of the queue. By routing customers through an interactive voice response (IVR) application — that you already use to confirm account details and other actions — you can save time with a self-service option.With the right application, you can complete entire transactions without customers having to come through to your agents, freeing up valuable time and giving callers a better experience. This includes using special toll-free phone numbers linked to promotional codes for your Black Friday deals, so you can create specific messages, or prioritise traffic if it does come through to your agents.Your self-service customers won’t even hear a message telling them your lines are busy — when you hit capacity, we’ll simply move the extra traffic over to the BT servers. This gives extra capacity, on-demand, without your customers noticing the difference. A single application supporting both the cloud and premises giving virtually unlimited capacity.
  3. Make friends on social media.
    On the busiest shopping day of the year, many people won’t expect to get through to you on the phone. Some will head to social media to post their questions and messages instead. So make sure you can answer online comments by replying to them as you would for any other request.Using social media, you also have the chance to be proactive — updating your customers with the latest information. Whether you have fresh deals, promotional codes or revised opening times for stores, sharing them online builds interest for your brand — and keeps callers out of your contact centre queue.

Keeping customers in line.

These are just three of the ways to handle the Black Friday surge in contacts to your company. Your agents will also receive inboxes full of emails, along with numerous IM requests — and they’ll need some way to manage them all.

You have to bring all of these channels together in a universal queue. This allows your agents to see all orders at a glance (regardless of media type), making sure you don’t miss a single customer.

Only by working in the cloud can you do this. So give your agents the tools to tackle the queues on what’s likely to be your contact centre’s busiest day — and focus on the business positives of Black Friday.

Take control this Black Friday. Reduce costs, deliver an exceptional customer experience and improve retention with BT Cloud Contact. And discover more about our solutions for the retail sector.

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