Customer service spikes can happen in many ways. You might have some unforeseen publicity opportunities or an ad that performs better than expected, both of which can drive a lot of questions. On the fulfillment side, you might have order processing issues that cause an increase in the number of questions per order. And, of course, spikes can happen simply due to seasonality and holidays.
You might think spikes are just something your team has to handle, but with a few best practices in place, you can predict and handle spikes more easily.
At HelpFlow, we provide 24/7 Live Chat Customer Service teams to over 100 e-commerce stores. We help clients improve their CS operation to work more effectively and will walk through a few things you can implement to better handle volume spikes in this post.
Let's get into it.
You might think that spikes are unpredictable, but they typically aren't. You can leverage a few metrics to forecast if a spike is about to occur so that your team can get ahead of a ticket volume.
Here are a few examples:
At HelpFlow, we constantly forecast chat and ticket volume into the future both daily and weekly to ensure we have the correct number of agents staffed to specific client accounts. You can do the same by benchmarking your order-to-ticket ratio and forecasting when orders will increase based on marketing metrics.
Many customer service questions are similar and can be answered with a template. If you're careful, templates don't have to sound robotic and can enhance the brand experience. In addition, once you have templates in place, you can leverage them in your workflow to streamline the processing of the increase in tickets.
Here are a few techniques:
With our CS teams, we focus on leveraging the helpdesk the client is using and the different features available to streamline customer service processing while also keeping the customer experience strong.
When customer service spikes happen, your team will feel insanely busy and may even burn out. However, some of this is simply mental based on knowing there is an increased volume of tickets to handle. If you have a target KPI's set, you can track these to know how the team is doing and help them manage their mindset. In short, they can throttle their work to simply keep hitting the target KPIs rather than maniacally trying to process all the tickets to get to inbox zero as fast as possible.
We've shared best practice customer service metrics in other posts, but here's the basic:
We set benchmark thresholds for these metrics with each client and report on them weekly typically. But during spikes, we recommend to clients that they manage their internal agents hourly or daily based on these #s so they can help agents set a pace for their work. Often, that pace is a bit slower than their mindset tells them based on the volume they see come in.
Customer service spikes happen, but you can manage these spikes more easily with better management of your CS operation.
If you need help managing an upcoming spike such as BFCM or a big sale, or you would benefit from having someone level up your CS operation, contact us at HelpFlow.com today. We provide 24/7 live chat and customer service teams to 100+ stores and can provide complimentary audits of your current approach.
Even if you don't work with us, you'll get a ton of takeaways from the audit process since we've worked with so many stores.