Have you ever had an unexpected guest come to dinner or even stay the night? Chances are, such a surprise may not only catch you off guard; it can likewise leave you in knots—especially if the amount of food you cooked is in short supply.

Apart from prompting you to cook more food, it would likewise be a good time to check if your business partner—your customer call center—is in tip-top shape to cope with the holiday rush.

One area to check are 24/7 call center service channels—telephone, live chat, email, social media. Make sure that all of these are working and that they are closely monitored. Nothing is worse than missing an irritated customer’s plight via one of these on Christmas Eve.

Another way to prepare your team is to simulate a barrage of customers contacting the inbound contact center—for a gazillion reasons. Can your reps cope with the sheer volume? Moreover, how do they respond to each one, especially the disgruntled ones looking to get their gift cheques’ issues resolved before the big day? Do your phone reps wilt under pressure?

Suffice it to say, all preparations should be done weeks in advance. This avoids being caught flat-footed when the rush happens.

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