Contact Center

4 Ways to Simplify Post-Holiday Returns

It’s the week before the holiday buying season comes to an end. Is your call center braced for the beginning of returns season?

Just as your accounting team is beginning to count the sales and profits you’ve generated from the holiday season, another is getting underway: post-holiday return season. Today, consumers line up at dawn the morning after Christmas and other holidays to bring back items they didn’t love and to snag sales on what they missed. For call centers, it also means a flood of confused and unhappy customers calling to find out how to send back their packages. Here’s how to prep your team and make it as simple as possible.

Prepare your team for the influx. One of the most important steps companies can take is to provide ample training. Give your agents the full rundown on how to process returns. What script should they use? What’s the easiest way to generate a return label and send it to a customer? Train your team on everything it needs to process returns.

Run simulations to help identify problems. As part of the training, consider running test cases that focus on through rates. The faster your team can identify the need for a return, find the order, and begin the return process, the more effectively it can serve a high volume of customers. Taking your agents through a test run can help identify any roadblocks and can get them accustomed to the process before customers start calling.

Allow returns through multiple channels. Companies that enable customers to return goods on their own can reduce the volume of calls and simplify the post-holiday period. Look for ways to enable customers to open a return request online or simply return an item by using a preprinted slip included in their orders. If these systems don’t exist this year, consider implementing them for future seasons.

Have a manager on duty. It’s important to provide managerial coverage during the return periods. Not every return will be simple; some customers may be angry due to shipping delays, items that weren’t what they wanted, or other issues that require finessing. Having adequate managerial coverage that allows call center agents to escalate concerns is essential to keeping calls flowing smoothly.

The holiday sales season is an important time for businesses, but how you handle post-holiday returns is equally critical. Focus on getting your call center agents prepared for a smooth returns process, and you’ll have happy customers returning season after season.