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Uncovering the secrets of Santa’s contact centre

As we tick off the sleeps until the big day, Christmas anticipation is growing across the globe.  The tTrees are up, presents wrapped, and festive plans finalised. Nowhere is the excitement greater than at the North Pole, where Father Christmas is putting the final touches to preparations for his busiest night of the year.

Amazing customer service is a big part of Santa’s success. We’ve been privileged to take a sneak peek into his top-secret Lapland contact centre, guarded by polar bears and staffed by a crack team of enthusiastic elves. Here’s five things we’ve learnt that can be applied in every contact centre, on every day of the year.

1. Cover every channel

Originally Father Christmas ran a paper-based operation. Children wrote him letters which were opened, read and acted on (provided the sender hadn’t been too naughty) by contact centre elves . Then he moved into face-to-face contact through an army of costumed representatives in grottos around the world. They reported back over the phone, adding another channel to Santa’s repertoire. Since then, like many other businesses, Father Christmas has embraced digital channels. You can email him, book a video call, text, use social media or even a smart home device. In fact, recent research shows that more children than ever are contacting St Nick through digital channels. To meet this demand Santa has expanded his contact centre to be truly omnichannel, with a single platform able to handle every interaction through the same easy-to-use interface.

2. Scale to meet demand

Few contact centres have to cope with the enormous spike in interactions that Santa faces in the run up to Christmas. Given the consequences of downtime, he therefore relies on cloud-based contact centre infrastructure that scales up and down with demand. That means when times are quiet, he’s not paying for capacity that he’s not using. And this leaves more budget for presents and extra carrots for the reindeer. It’s a lesson for other contact centres that face big jumps in traffic at peak times, as this approach enables Father Christmas to deliver seamless service cost-effectively.

3. Be integrated and collaborative

When it comes to Christmas everyone at the North Pole lends a hand. Whether it is the elves in the workshops making toys, the reindeer handling transport and logistics, or Santa himself, it is vital that they all work together and share information. That’s why the Claus contact centre utilises unified communications software, enabling close collaboration between the front, back and sleigh offices. Thanks to this, there are no last-minute slip-ups or potential present problems.

4. Treat staff well

Santa’s elves are incredibly loyal, enthusiastic, and committed to their jobs. However, Father Christmas certainly doesn’t take them for granted. He’s created an open, happy atmosphere in the contact centre, with plenty of mince pies, tinsel, and festive jumpers. He also empowers his elves through access to straightforward, up to date knowledge management technology. Add to this a nine month holiday from January to September, a real sense of purpose and great camaraderie and you can see why his people are motivated, happy, and always willing to help.

5. Treat children as individuals

Father Christmas understands the importance of personalisation. He knows every child is an individual and has their own hopes for what will appear under the tree. So, he has put in place sophisticated CRM (Christmas Relationship Management) software that covers every child in the world. And this is updated in real-time with their letters and reports from his band of elves on the shelf, stationed in houses around the world. All of this information is available to contact centre elves. This way, everyone gets a tailored response and present based on their latest naughty/nice status.

While not every customer service team is as high-profile as Santa’s contact centre, the experience they deliver is equally crucial to their organisation and its success. So, as we come to the end of the year, we’d like to extend best wishes to everyone working in the customer service industry. Merry Christmas and here’s to 2023!