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Why Black Friday is still happening for contact centres

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29 November 2016

Katie Denison

Blogs by author:  Katie Denison , Head of Unified Communications and CRM Marketing, BT.

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Service peaks like Black Friday and Cyber Monday hold valuable lessons for contact centres. Here’s why every day should be a Black Friday…

 Black Friday continues.

Consumers are sitting back and admiring the haul of goods they bought on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Stores have already shifted their merchandising to focus back on Christmas. Black Friday is well and truly over for another year…

Or is it? Your contact centre is probably still at full stretch, dealing with a stream of customer queries about orders or deliveries placed over the big shopping weekend.

And what a weekend. We’re still working on the numbers, but our customers’ contact centres definitely handled record levels of activity this year. And there’s quite a record to beat: from Black Friday 2014 to Black Friday 2015, we saw the calls carried to our customers’ contact centres via our global inbound platform increase by more than a third. However, even this paled in comparison to Cyber Monday traffic, which was over 50 per cent higher than Black Friday — reflecting the shift to online shopping. And so far, the 2016 numbers are set to eclipse these figures.

Service peaks are longer than you think.

Your contact centre will just about have recovered from the Black Friday peak in time to tackle the Christmas sales and the avalanche of customer queries they will bring. Increasingly, the challenge for contact centres around peak times is changing. It’s not just about coping with inflated contact volumes for a day or two — it’s now about finding ways to maintain high standards of service throughout a sustained promotional period.

And the key to achieving this is keeping the queues down.

First-contact resolution busts queues.

The more frequently you resolve a customer’s query the first time they get in touch, the shorter your queues will be. A focus on achieving a high first-contact resolution rate will prevent those customers calling back with further questions and taking up space in your queue. And, a rapid resolution will boost service perceptions, maintaining (or even building) customer satisfaction.

First-contact resolution depends on putting the customer in touch with the agent with the right skills to complete their query, and being able to expand your network of agents easily to deal with increased contact volumes. Plus you need to be sure that your network has the capacity to support surges in demand. So it’s our policy to always overestimate the access our customers need, avoiding any blocked calls during peak periods.

Use Black Friday as the springboard to shift your focus onto first-contact resolution. Find out how our cloud contact solutions can help you manage your queues, and discover what our retail solutions can contribute to your business.

We’re at NRF 2017, Retail’s Big Show, from 15 to 17 January 2017. At our booth (#3181, Level Three) you can chat to our experts about your digital retail challenges and learn more about our Acuitas Digital Alliance solutions. If you’d like to schedule a demo appointment, contact judith.joost@bt.com. During NRF 2017, you can also book a tour of our Alexander Black Retail Experience, showcasing the latest digital retail technology, here.