Holiday Lessons Learned: What It Takes to Run a Successful Customer Care Team

By Liam Somers, Director of Customer Care and Risk Operations

The holiday season, while filled with joy and wonder, can also be a stressful time not only for service providers like CashStar, but for our clients and their customers, who are looking to create the perfect holiday gifting experiences for their loved ones.

The digital gifting industry has grown leaps and bounds over the past few years, and it is still very dynamic. We serve a customer base that is constantly growing, therefore we need to be ready for whatever volume of calls will spike at our customer care center, especially so during the holiday season. The digital nature of our product creates a 24/7 purchasing cycle. Unlike brick and mortar stores, who have decades of industry data to help predict buying trends, we have to be ready at any hour for an uptick in traffic.

Because the season can be a frantic and pressure filled time for holiday shoppers, our customer care representatives need to be specially trained. To do that successfully, we stress:

  1. Preparation – We provide extensive training for our customer care agents so that they are able to act like managers. First contact resolution is vitally important, especially during the holidays. We avoid customer frustration by limiting the number of people a customer has to speak with to resolve an issue. Our agents are trained and empowered to find solutions and make decisions to satisfy customer requests in the moment, with minimal supervisor input required. We also encourage our agents to provide constant feedback on areas we could improve upon and give them ownership of the process to let them build their own sense of success.
  1. Listening – We continuously coach our agents to be active listeners, to let the customer speak and get their story out before trying to jump in to resolve an issue. We also remind our agents to remain calm and help direct the conversation to a positive refrain.
  1. Empathy – The holiday season is important to everyone, and what might seem trivial to one person is really important to someone else. We need to have empathy toward our customers, whatever the circumstance may be, because at that exact moment in time the issue the customer is contacting us about may be the most important thing to them and therefore it has to be the same for us.
  1. Being wellrested – Our agents can take more than 100 calls a day on average, and while they understand that every single call they take is the first call for their customer, it is understandable that this job can often feel repetitive. We really want our customer care agents to be fresh to do their best work, so we’ve created an environment where breaks are encouraged and our agents support and help one another stay focused and positive.

Customer care is a very demanding job and no more so than during peak holiday seasons. It is critically important that your team has the necessary skills and attributes to best represent our clients and their customer. At CashStar, I’m happy to say we have a very talented group of dedicated customer care professionals who listen, react and maintain a high standard of professionalism because they are truly invested in a positive outcome for our customers.

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