Helping contact centres meet demand during peak season

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With Black Friday just around the corner and the festive period following quickly behind, the peak demand period for contact centres is well and truly here.

From assisting retail consumers with questions about their online purchases; to helping utility customers with broken boilers, or helping telecoms customers move onto a new tariff for the New Year – contact centres of all types and sizes need to find people – very quickly – to cover their seasonal ramp up in demand.

What’s the best way to ramp up your contact centre workforce during your busiest times of year? How do you find large amounts of temporary talent, and secure them for the duration of your needs? Let’s take a look at three of the critical areas that need to be considered:

  1. Market Mapping
    At least three to four months before the peak period begins, contact centres need to analyse local labour market dynamics to understand current talent availability. And they need to review their own business too, to understand what the skills requirements really are. After all, an awful lot can change in a year. Just because a strategy worked last year, it doesn’t mean it’s the right approach this time around. The kind of skills your business needs might have changed; the types of candidates who are available might have changed; and your competition may have changed. Clear and comprehensive market mapping is required, to ensure you target the right candidates, in the right away.
  1. Attraction and Selection
    It’s inevitable that your go-to-market approach will need to change every year, as well. Candidate preferences are constantly changing, and the types of workers you’re looking to attract are likely to have changed too. Therefore, the advertising channels that were previously effective may not be the best option today; the way you screen, select and assess candidates may need to be reviewed; and your employer brand may refreshing, to ensure it aligns to the preferences of your ideal candidates. Furthermore, as workers increasingly look to engage with organisations in new ways and embrace alternative ways of working, you may find you need to harness new employment models, too.
  1. Onboarding
    Often overlooked, is the importance of getting the onboarding process right during peak demand periods. As we’re all acutely aware, it’s likely that you’ll be competing for talent with plenty of other contact centres – so you really can’t afford to hang around. Candidates need to be engaged with straight away; a hiring decision needs to be made promptly; and a comprehensive onboarding strategy is required, to ensure they don’t look elsewhere while you get ready for their start date. Handle this process well, and you’ll get better engagement, retention and attrition rates – leading to a happier workforce and a better customer experience at the end of it.

Preparation is the key

If there’s one thing you take away from this blog, I hope it’s this: preparation is the key during peak period. You won’t be able to recruit hundreds of in-demand individuals overnight. That’s because the most effective workforce strategies are planned months in advance.

While contact centres are often quite strong in some areas of their workforce planning process, most are weak in at least one area. You may have already realised this yourself, if you’ve found the build up to this year’s peak period to be demanding. But that’s where Manpower can help. We conduct landscape reviews of contact centres; assessing each stage of the hiring process to identify areas that can be improved, optimised or built upon. This allows us to bridge the gap between current state realities and future-state requirements. In short, this means organisations can enter their peak demand period with confidence.

Unlike many providers, we have national reach and a centralised approach. This means we’re well-equipped to help contact centres ramp their workforce numbers up and down, in line with business requirements. It also means we’re able to help organisations engage with different workforce models, taking a short and long-term view of their effectiveness in line with your organisational goals.

To find out more about our expertise in contact centre recruitment and workforce planning, visit or email us at [email protected]