When we think of the holiday season, many things come to mind: good food, time spent with loved ones … and ramping up newly hired customer service reps. (What, that last one isn’t on everyone’s minds?)
Yes, the holidays often bring an increased need for seasonal team members who can keep customers happy. And if you don’t put the time and effort into making sure your seasonal service reps can deliver an excellent customer experience, your holidays might not be so merry.
In fact, research suggests that 33 percent of U.S. customers will consider seeking out a new company after just one instance of poor service.
Put simply, your customer service team has a tremendous impact on your bottom line, all year long.
So, how can you ensure you have new staff ready for the job?
One way to help make sure your seasonal employees always have the information they need to do their jobs is to give them access to a company knowledge base.
A knowledge base is a digital platform where employees can store and search for important documents, ask and answer questions, and share complex information in a way that makes sense, whether that’s through text, images, video, or a combination of mediums. When deployed across a customer service team, it can be an essential learning tool for new hires.
Follow the four steps listed below to provide seasonal customer service training that will get your new hires up to speed quickly.
1. Train Them on Common Seasonal Issues
If you’re in a situation where you need to bring in additional customer service staff during the holidays, there’s a good chance you have recurring questions and complaints during this time of year. You may suddenly have an influx of customers asking about gift wrapping options, rush delivery during the week of Christmas, and so on.
Focus your seasonal customer service training on the most common issues to ensure your new team members are ready to hit the ground running as quickly as possible. Document those common issues and questions in your knowledge base so customer service reps can always refer back to them, rather than having to track down a more experienced employee.
If your seasonal reps have a question for which they can’t find an answer in the knowledge base, encourage them to post the question themselves. When a subject matter expert responds, the answer will be available to everyone who has access to the knowledge base, helping future customer service employees who might run into the same question.
2. Create Boilerplate Responses
In addition to documenting common holidays issues, providing boilerplate responses can help new customer service reps adapt quickly. The less they have to rely on improvising answers, the more consistent their service will be.
Add detailed and caring responses your reps can recite when dealing with common seasonal issues to your knowledge base to ensure they can appropriately address recurring issues without having to memorize them first.
As a bonus, this tip can help your customer service team more quickly respond to emails—and considering it takes the typical customer service team over 12 hours to respond to an email, it’s a good bet a boost in speed will improve your customer experience.
3. Help Your Customers Help Themselves
Let’s face it, you can’t train your new customer service reps to handle every single issue when you have a short window to work with. That’s why it’s a good idea to make it easy for customers to solve simple issues on their own, so you can focus on training customer service reps on more complex cases.
In addition to having an internal knowledge base, you can also set up a customer-facing knowledge base with searchable solutions to common issues. You can even have your marketing team create seasonal graphics and content to make sure visiting customers stay in the holiday spirit.
If you think asking your customers to solve their own problems will rub them the wrong way, think again.
In a survey conducted by American Express, six of 10 U.S. customers said they prefer to search for answers on their own when the issue is minor.
Using a knowledge base to empower customers to find their own solution can provide them with the holiday service experience they crave, while also giving your season customer service reps time to focus on the issues that deserve their attention.
4. Explain Seasonal Promotions
Promotions are a great way to drum up extra sales and attract new customers, and the holidays provide a perfect opportunity to try creative offerings. In fact, a third of holiday shoppers report their purchase was influenced by a seasonal promotion.
Just make sure your new customer service reps know the name of your holiday sales event, as well as the pricing and duration of any special offers. With a searchable knowledge base at their fingertips, your new reps can quickly review any of these details should they forget.
Enjoy a Happy Holiday Season
Knowledge bases are designed to eliminate friction for their users: seasonal customer service employees can use a knowledge base to quickly find the information they need, eliminating potential bottlenecks and helping them respond to busy holiday shoppers faster. By taking advantage of the capabilities of a knowledge base, you can ensure newly hired customer service reps are prepared to give customers a holiday experience that meets your organization’s standards and inspires customer loyalty.