Staying in control through the chaos of Peak Season

Peak Season is always challenging for support teams. Here are some best practices to help you navigate the chaos.

Peak season? Don't panic.

Many businesses struggle during the holidays and we often forget our support teams are on the front lines dealing with nonstop customer queries. 

Multiple support channels are going off the hook, keeping support staff on a regular schedule is challenging and planning ahead ... Well, that can take forever if you are still doing it manually. 

But don’t fret! Believe it or not, there are solutions out there that can relieve you from all these pains. 

What are the issues with peak season?

Well for one, product or service demands are soaring. Which means businesses need to understand which types of queries are coming up and when, via the various Zendesk channels. 

Plus, staffing requirements are constantly changing as peak season fluctuates. This means businesses need to know which and how many support staff are able to cover those queries. 

And finally, as with any growing business, hiring more staff to cover the additional workload can be very time consuming. Therefore, getting quick access to additional staff to cover that workload is essential: it will avoid gaps in staffing and keep customers supported.

How to tackle peak season with Workforce Management

You’ll want to get ahead of the problem to solve it.
You’ll want to have enough agents scheduled in advance to handle incoming traffic.

You want to start forecasting.

This is where Tymeshift Forecasting comes in. Tymeshift pulls up to two years worth of Zendesk data seamlessly into the solution. 

With this data, Tymeshift is able to forecast the inbound volume of work from the various Zendesk channels. That means that your business gets to predict how many tickets, chats, calls are going to occur on the next day, month or even year in advance. 

By giving businesses this kind of powerful visibility, peaks and troughs can be addressed in a timely manner, avoiding a messy situation in the moment. 

In tandem with the inbound volume data being pulled in, the Tymeshift Forecast can predict how much required staffing is needed to cover the workload over the various Zendesk channels. 

With this information, you can understand if you need to make adjustments to their team’s schedules and avoid a situation where staff is either underworked or even worse, overworked. 

3 Reasons Why You Need Staffing Forecasts 

  1. Avoid Pitfalls in Future Staffing Planning

Peak season is a rocky time for most businesses, not to mention extremely stressful for support teams. By using an automated forecast, businesses can visually see where the peaks and troughs are and make effective and timely adjustments to their required staffing. 

  1. Losing the spreadsheets saves you time

More businesses than not are still using the legacy tool for forecasting: spreadsheets. And it’s true, spreadsheets do get the job done. However, the amount of time gained by transitioning over to a Workforce Management (WFM) tool can be significant. With Tymeshift you can cut scheduling & forecasting time by 70%, allowing you to focus on the things that are happening in real time. 

  1. Meeting SLA’s saves revenue 

You can avoid being over or understaffed. When you’re unnecessarily overstaffed, you’ll find that you’re not being super cost-effective. And if you're terribly understaffed, you can lose up to 65% of your customers to the competition. So you see, being more efficiently staffed saves revenue.

By using Tymeshift Forecast, businesses are able to get a glimpse into the future and make effective decisions allowing them to be proactive, instead of reactive. So then, when Forecast displays the need for more staff, how does one solve for that?

That is where the Get Labor app by ArenaCX comes to the rescue.

Putting your plan into action

Tymeshift’s forecasting and workforce management software gives Zendesk customers an integrated view of optimal staffing needs. But translating this from plan to action isn’t always straightforward. There are a number of practical reasons why it is difficult to stay aligned.

Which is where getting staffing right comes in.

3 Reasons Staffing To Your Plans Can Be Difficult

  1. Hiring talent is harder than ever. 

As of October 30th, there were 10.3 million job openings in the U.S. alone. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “If every unemployed person in the country found a job, we would still have 4 million open jobs.”

Because of this labor shortage, companies have been “raising wages, offering sign-on bonuses and even paying for college tuition” in order to attract talent (Forbes). Unfortunately for hiring managers, the labor shortage is likely to continue into 2023 and beyond

  1. Retaining talent is harder than ever

Not only is it more difficult to hire workers, it may be even more difficult to retain them. A well publicized tidal wave of employee attrition, termed the great resignation, shows no signs of slowing down; in fact, up to 40% of U.S. workers are considering quitting their jobs (Fortune).

Beyond the 47 million people who resigned last year, there is also the emerging trend of quiet quitting, where disengaged employees do the absolute minimum work required to avoid getting fired. And the contact center industry has been hit especially hard, with 2022 turnover rates averaging 65%, and up to 80% in some verticals, according to Medalia.

  1. Ramping up and down strains your HR department

Even before this labor crisis, contact center leaders faced problematic staffing decisions. When the plan shows a significant decrease in demand, most companies are uncomfortable reducing headcount accordingly. The talent was hard to come by in the first place, plus they are now trained, and the demand is likely to return. So companies will often decide to remain overstaffed during low demand periods. 

The converse is also true. During peak periods, business leaders are concerned about hiring internally, only to let go of the new staff after the busy season. All of the effort associated with recruiting, hiring, onboarding, equipping, training, and so forth is a high burden for short-term employees. As the average new hire takes 42 days and costs companies over $4,000 (Toggle), companies are often tempted to do without adequate headcount during peak demand periods.

How to overcome the talent shortage and manage your workforce like a champ

The solution for many companies is outsourcing. In fact, with an outsourcing marketplace like ArenaCX, third party talent is easier to access than ever. ArenaCX currently includes more than 150 vetted best-of-breed outsourcing providers, aggregating to well over 500,000 headcount. With hundreds of centers worldwide, plus gig players and remote teams, ArenaCX can deliver nearly any outsourcing use case, function, industry vertical, language, skill set, and certification for teams as small as one agent and up to many hundreds. This includes seasonal needs as well as long-term teams. 

For Zendesk users, ArenaCX powers the Get Labor program, an application which allows companies to source high quality talent from Zendesk-approved providers with only a few clicks from right within their Zendesk instance.

This is the perfect complement to your Forecasting and Workforce Management system, allowing you to easily fill shifts, cover seasonal ramps, and scale your team up and down with demand changes. 

Planning + Action = Results

So as you see, by combining a Workforce Management solution like Tymeshift and an Outsourcing solution like Get Labor by ArenaCX in your Zendesk, you can save a lot of time, stress and even revenue.