In any business, a key challenge is balancing supply and demand, in particular planning for seasonal customer service. It is essential to ensure that business and customer needs are met at all times.

Of course, demand can vary over weeks and months and many companies find that their workload increases at key points of the year, depending on their particular product or service. For example, retailers experience a significant increase in sales over the festive period, while those in the travel industry typically see spikes during the spring and summer.

Responding to increased demand for customer service

These seasonal periods naturally have an impact on customer service departments, with contact centres becoming busier and customer enquiry volumes increasing.

In response to these seasonal activity spikes, companies often need to increase their customer service staff between two- and ten-fold for a relatively short period of time. This means they need to quickly hire the right people and train large numbers, without sacrificing quality or productivity.

What’s more, once the staff have been recruited and trained, they require desks, chairs, phones, and all the equipment necessary to perform their role effectively and efficiently. This places a huge strain on regular resources and facilities for a small, but highly important, part of the year.

The challenge of balancing supply and demand

Let’s take a large retailer, for example. During the busy period between Black Friday and Christmas, they might need to increase their customer service team from 200 employees to nearly 2000 – a significant recruitment and training operation that demands substantial resources and will be repeated each year. Meeting customer service needs during this key period is critical to trading success, but places immense strain on year-round resources and forces businesses to make substantial facilities and equipment available for just a few short weeks.

With the challenge of fluctuating supply and demand how are companies dealing with seasonal increases in demand? Is there a cost effective and practical solution?

Balancing supply and demand is challenging, especially planning for seasonal customer service, but outsourcing to home-based agents is an effective solution

Rather than investing the time, money, and resources in recruiting, training, and equipping temporary staff members to support during seasonal spikes, an increasing number of companies have identified the benefits of using outsourced, work-at-home agents to boost their workforce during busy periods.

Planning for seasonal customer service

Instead of taking care of everything in-house and investing so much time and capital in growing the team for only for a few weeks or months of the year, using home-based agents covers the need to recruit, train and coach without the limitations of walls, desk space, and training facilities.

In addition to this, the home-based model removes geographical limitations, allowing companies to choose the best talent, providing the skills and experience they need, regardless of where they are based.

For assistance planning for seasonal customer service, or to find out more about how outsourced home-based support agents can help meet your seasonal demands, get in touch.

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