[JOIN IN] Hang Out with Hot Chocolate: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays ☕

  • 1 December 2021
  • 79 replies
  • 1512 views
[JOIN IN] Hang Out with Hot Chocolate: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays ☕
Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Our next Coffee Chat session is happening on Tuesday, 7, December at 11 AM EST.


In keeping with the season, we’re calling our discussion Hang Out with Hot Chocolate and we’ll be discussing a topic in line with the season as well: managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 


Grab a cup and join us as we talk about five key segments:

  1. How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?

  2. How has your team prepped to meet the changes in demands around customer expectations during this time?

  3. How can customer service managers prevent and address increased stress/burnout among their teams during this time?

  4. What are some lessons and insights from previous years that have helped customer service teams perform better during the holiday season? 

  5. What is key towards managing both customer and employee satisfaction during the holidays?

  6. Lastly, how can teams/individuals best take advantage of a holiday “lull” - the proverbial calm before the storm. (Tag, @manns when you answer this particular question, he’s looking forward to your responses)


79 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Hey everyone! Welcome to our coffee chat: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 

First question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the quote the option
 

Q1 How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?

A1:  I am guessing here….but 1 month ahead?

A1: I think 3 months out review training so everyone is up to speed.  1 month out ensure schedule has sufficient coverage and backup options.  But I am an overplanner! 

Valid point! 

Userlevel 2
Badge

Hey everyone! Welcome to our coffee chat: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 

First question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the quote the option
 

Q1 How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?



A1: As someone who has been on the frontline of customer service especially during the holidays, I would say a good few weeks are needed to plan, re-plan, and execute it. Planning ahead helps you spot gaps in your current training or format of support and gives you enough time to build or crowdsource resources needed for your support team. It also gives you ample time to organize a library of content for your team’s new and existing support reps to use.  

As the ONLY Agent/Admin running Freshdesk, how do I spot my own gaps?  LOL. I guess I need to do some more Academy training….

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Hey everyone! Welcome to our coffee chat: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 

First question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the quote the option
 

Q1 How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?

A1:  I am guessing here….but 1 month ahead?

A1: Depends if you anticipate the need to hire additional staff.

True that. Hiring is a time-consuming process.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

A1: We started in October this year.

Hey everyone! Welcome to our coffee chat: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 

First question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the quote the option
 

Q1 How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?

A1:  I am guessing here….but 1 month ahead?

A1: We started in October this year.

 

That’s pretty good, Sean! Curious to know the size of your team

A1: We started in October this year.

Hey everyone! Welcome to our coffee chat: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 

First question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the quote the option
 

Q1 How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?

A1:  I am guessing here….but 1 month ahead?

A1: We started in October this year.

 

That’s pretty good, Sean! Curious to know the size of your team

A1 - I feel each organization should have a plan in place for holiday closures since they happen every year at different times of the year. In my mind, that plan should be broken down into phases leading up to the holiday, and the aspects of those phases will differ depending on how long the break will be. For instance, if I am preparing for Memorial Day per my holiday plan I may have my internal team begin informing customers that we will be closed for the holiday one week in advance - informing them in conversation as well as with a blip in their support signature. If I have 3rd party support providers or depots I rely on, I will communicate with them about a month out from a single day of business closure.

If I’m preparing for two days out of the office, like over Christmas or New Years I will have my team inform customers of our closures 2 weeks out and I will have 3rd party support services prepared at 45 days out.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Second question for today is here below.

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q2, start your answer with A2 and use the quote the option

Q2 How has your team prepped to meet the changes in demands around customer expectations during this time?

where is the link to log in

I can't log in

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Hey everyone! Welcome to our coffee chat: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 

First question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the quote the option
 

Q1 How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?



A1: As someone who has been on the frontline of customer service especially during the holidays, I would say a good few weeks are needed to plan, re-plan, and execute it. Planning ahead helps you spot gaps in your current training or format of support and gives you enough time to build or crowdsource resources needed for your support team. It also gives you ample time to organize a library of content for your team’s new and existing support reps to use.  

As the ONLY Agent/Admin running Freshdesk, how do I spot my own gaps?  LOL. I guess I need to do some more Academy training….

I understand how it is to do everything yourself. Feel free to check out Academy. You can write to me too: akshara.sruthi@freshworks.com

A1 : @akshara.sruthi  I totally agree with you on these two points weeks or some days before the holidays are needed to plan ahead and the point of spotting gaps in the current  format of support as during planning you reflect on the current way of working.

 

I can say that for my team the planning is done few days before the holidays. Thanks

Userlevel 2
Badge

A1: We started in October this year.

Hey everyone! Welcome to our coffee chat: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 

First question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the quote the option
 

Q1 How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?

A1:  I am guessing here….but 1 month ahead?

A1: We started in October this year.

 

That’s pretty good, Sean! Curious to know the size of your team

A1 - I feel each organization should have a plan in place for holiday closures since they happen every year at different times of the year. In my mind, that plan should be broken down into phases leading up to the holiday, and the aspects of those phases will differ depending on how long the break will be. For instance, if I am preparing for Memorial Day per my holiday plan I may have my internal team begin informing customers that we will be closed for the holiday one week in advance - informing them in conversation as well as with a blip in their support signature. If I have 3rd party support providers or depots I rely on, I will communicate with them about a month out from a single day of business closure.

If I’m preparing for two days out of the office, like over Christmas or New Years I will have my team inform customers of our closures 2 weeks out and I will have 3rd party support services prepared at 45 days out.

How would you suggest handling different holidays between where the business is located (USA) and where the Freshdesk Agent lives (Canada).  We often have same holidays, but there are some that are different...

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

A1: We started in October this year.

Hey everyone! Welcome to our coffee chat: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 

First question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the quote the option
 

Q1 How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?

A1:  I am guessing here….but 1 month ahead?

A1: We started in October this year.

 

That’s pretty good, Sean! Curious to know the size of your team

A1 - I feel each organization should have a plan in place for holiday closures since they happen every year at different times of the year. In my mind, that plan should be broken down into phases leading up to the holiday, and the aspects of those phases will differ depending on how long the break will be. For instance, if I am preparing for Memorial Day per my holiday plan I may have my internal team begin informing customers that we will be closed for the holiday one week in advance - informing them in conversation as well as with a blip in their support signature. If I have 3rd party support providers or depots I rely on, I will communicate with them about a month out from a single day of business closure.

If I’m preparing for two days out of the office, like over Christmas or New Years I will have my team inform customers of our closures 2 weeks out and I will have 3rd party support services prepared at 45 days out.

True, so important to not only have a plan in place, but also clearly communicate to your customers ahead of time.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Hey everyone! Welcome to our coffee chat: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 

First question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the quote the option
 

Q1 How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?

A1:  I am guessing here….but 1 month ahead?

A1: I think 3 months out review training so everyone is up to speed.  1 month out ensure schedule has sufficient coverage and backup options.  But I am an overplanner! 

Planning ahead of time is a great habit to have. Well done, you! And also training and documentation takes time so if three months is what it takes, good to have it! 

Userlevel 1
Badge +2

where is the link to log in

I can't log in

I was confused as well.  There is no log in, just follow the posts.  Be sure your option for viewing replies is set to newest first.  Mine defaulted to oldest.  Also, I found I have to continually refresh my page to see new responses.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

where is the link to log in

I can't log in

You’ve already logged in. Just start typing away your answers. Welcome to our coffee chat. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

A1 : @akshara.sruthi  I totally agree with you on these two points weeks or some days before the holidays are needed to plan ahead and the point of spotting gaps in the current  format of support as during planning you reflect on the current way of working.

 

I can say that for my team the planning is done few days before the holidays. Thanks

Pretty cool, Alice

Userlevel 4
Badge +3

Hey everyone! Welcome to our coffee chat: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 

First question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the quote the option
 

Q1 How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?

A1: I think two months will be good to measure different statistics on how the team deal with the issues in terms of resolution time, knowledge base, etc. Hiring a seasonal employee may slow down the workflow beacuse most of the experienced employees will work on those employees’ fails to fix it. This is time consuming process. The first month we can measure the former statistics. The second month, we can try new tools or flows. The third month (the hectic month) we can choose whether we use the former or new system.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Second question for today is here below.

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q2, start your answer with A2 and use the quote the option

Q2 How has your team prepped to meet the changes in demands around customer expectations during this time?

A2: As for our support team, we have made sure to revise and review our self-help content, pre-filled responses for our team. As part of Freshworks Academy, I’m working on creating more videos on Frequently Asked Questions so our customers can help themselves and find answers to their questions instantly.
Not a plug to our content, but this is what I’m working on right now :) 

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Third question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q3, start your answer with A3 and use the quote the option
 

Q3: How can customer service managers prevent and address increased stress/burnout among their teams during this time?

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Third question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q3, start your answer with A3 and use the quote the option
 

Q3: How can customer service managers prevent and address increased stress/burnout among their teams during this time?

A3: First and foremost, acknowledge that your support team had a lot on their plates during the holidays. Give them a break to rest, and recharge before resuming everyday operations. After that, revisit SLAs, close out tickets that no longer need your attention, and update FAQ’s to reflect current policies.

Lastly, record what went well and what didn’t so you can go into the next seasonal rush well-prepared.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Hey everyone! Welcome to our coffee chat: Managing Customer Service During the Holidays. 

First question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q1, start your answer with A1 and use the quote the option
 

Q1 How far ahead should customer service teams and leads begin planning for the holiday rush?

A1: I think two months will be good to measure different statistics on how the team deal with the issues in terms of resolution time, knowledge base, etc. Hiring a seasonal employee may slow down the workflow beacuse most of the experienced employees will work on those employees’ fails to fix it. This is time consuming process. The first month we can measure the former statistics. The second month, we can try new tools or flows. The third month (the hectic month) we can choose whether we use the former or new system.

Interesting perspective on onboarding seasonal hires. Can you map easy-to-solve projects to seasonal hires? That way, interaction or intervention of experienced employees is less with new-hires

Userlevel 4
Badge +3

Second question for today is here below.

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q2, start your answer with A2 and use the quote the option

Q2 How has your team prepped to meet the changes in demands around customer expectations during this time?

A2: Knowledge base and FAQs mostly helped us to announce updates. The basic user certificate from Freshworks Academy is obligatory for our agents. We follow up on their attendance. Thanks to the videos our agents learned how to use Fresh tools perfectly.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Third question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q3, start your answer with A3 and use the quote the option
 

Q3: How can customer service managers prevent and address increased stress/burnout among their teams during this time?

A3: Ability to recognize burnout/ increased stress among employees, and act accordingly, especially during busy times. Improving communication channels between a manager and team member can definitely help.

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Fourth question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q4, start your answer with A4 and use the quote the option
 

Q4 What are some lessons and insights from previous years that have helped customer service teams perform better during the holiday season? 

Userlevel 4
Badge +3

Third question for today is here below. To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q3, start your answer with A3 and use the quote the option
 

Q3: How can customer service managers prevent and address increased stress/burnout among their teams during this time?

A3: Face to face meetings are the most useful thing to deal with pressure. The agents can give feedback and talking in social mood help to understand still we are human :)

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Second question for today is here below.

To answer a question, tag the answer with the corresponding number. For example, if you are answering this question Q2, start your answer with A2 and use the quote the option

Q2 How has your team prepped to meet the changes in demands around customer expectations during this time?

A2: Knowledge base and FAQs mostly helped us to announce updates. The basic user certificate from Freshworks Academy is obligatory for our agents. We follow up on their attendance. Thanks to the videos our agents learned how to use Fresh tools perfectly.

 

That’s amazing to hear! 

Reply