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How to call Black Friday a win for your contact centre


23 November 2016

Katie Denison

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


The answer to some of the Black Friday frenzy lies in putting the right cloud-based tools in place for your contact centre. Here’s how to get ahead.

Control your Black Friday.

It’s nearly time for Black Friday madness again. Cue impatient online shoppers trying to checkout on websites that are struggling to cope with the surge in traffic, and even physical fights as bargain hunters jostle to secure goods in store. And the pressure will spread to your contact centres, too.

Irritation levels will be high all round as consumers push systems to the max. The Black Friday weekend would be so much easier for the retailer with crowd control measures in place. My solution? Try cloud control instead…

Add agents the easy way.

We’re pretty sure your phones are going to be ringing on 25 November: on Black Friday last year, we saw the calls carried to our customers’ contact centres via our global inbound platform exceed 13 million minutes (a 10 per cent increase over the previous Black Friday).

You’re definitely going to need every agent you can get your hands on. The good news is that, with a cloud-based contact centre, you can immediately scale up your capacity to handle the high volume of inbound contacts — and you only pay for what you use.

With a cloud contact centre you can move calls quickly between agents so that customers deal with the right person to resolve their query. Not only does this reduce the number of repeat calls you receive, it also makes the most of the expertise you have within your organisation. Adding people from across your business into your contact centre as temporary agents is simple. And they can join you in fielding queries from anywhere, via any device.

Spread the load.

When you know your contact centre is going to be busy, the smart move is to make the most of your other channels of communication to handle those customer queries that don’t need an agent’s attention.

It’s likely customers will check your social media channels for the latest information about what you’ve got on offer and how to get it. Sharing new deals, promotional codes or revised opening times online is an easy way to keep customers happy — and out of your contact centre queue. Your social media channels will face a barrage of questions and messages, too. So make sure you have people standing by to provide swift answers.

Let your customers help themselves.

Not every query that comes the way of your contact centre will need a live-agent response. Offering an interactive voice response (IVR) as a first point of contact will filter a significant chunk of traffic away from your agents.

Going beyond merely confirming account details and other basic actions, the right self-service application can complete entire transactions without any agent input. It can also help you prioritise the traffic coming into your contact centre — freeing up agent time, avoiding customers having to hang on in a frustrating queue, and delivering a better overall service experience. Plus you always have the option of diverting call traffic in danger of overloading your system onto our servers: your customers won’t know the difference and it’ll leave your agents clear to handle interactions that need a live response.

Find out how our cloud contact centre solutions can help you get a handle on your Black Friday, and scope out hat our retail solutions can do for 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 mailto: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.