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How could I maintain amazing CX for a seasonal business that starts from scratch every year with new team members?

Question from Tonya K.

Abraham Venismach
 

Owner/Partner, Customer Service Professional Network 200K+

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 19 comments
Mike Wittenstein, CCXP, CSP, CMC - December 4, 2017

Hi Tonya,

Regardless of what your business is, I guess you’re wondering how to make your seasonal business every more successful without having to repeat yourself every year. I’ll start the discussion with two things:

1. Get a tool like Process.st. It lets your team document what they do so that, next year, the new team knows what to do.
2. Recruit year-round (don’t forget to offer this year’s team an incentive to find next year’s team).

Best,
Mike

Reply
    Tonya Kinney - December 5, 2017

    Hello Mike,

    Thank you for the insight. We actually use a platform: Trainual where all of our product information and procedures are documented. Every year, we as a team review the information from start to finish adding new/updated information and looking for opportunities to streamline the content for a better training experience.

    We also have a referral program in place for our existing team which provides incentives for them if the refer someone for one of our seasonal CSR positions.

    Reply
Tema Frank - December 4, 2017

Hi Tonya,

Do you have to have all new staff members each year? If you have some who return, they can help teach the others, and set the right atmosphere. Also agree with Mike re documenting processes.

Beyond that, though, I recommend looking at each of the 3Ps of Profit: Promise, People & Process. Can’t go through it all in the word count here, but see the article at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140930195524-1465670-the-new-math-of-customer-experience/ for a summary.

Reply
    Tonya Kinney - December 5, 2017

    Hi Tema,

    Thank you for your comments. Year over year we look to elevate the top performers from the previous season into permanent positions. This allows us to continue to grow our dedicated team as well as infuse our top performers into the new hire training program.

    We also use a platform called Trainual which allows us to continuously document and update product information/procedures

    Reply
Pat Porras - December 4, 2017

Tonya, a model that works very efficiently for such business is besides updating the Recruiting process & requirements ensure that the OnBoarding is focused on 80/20 rule. An example is to align the Role Standards to the top most common CX situations/scenarios that they will encounter and certify them to that KPI.

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    Tonya Kinney - December 5, 2017

    Hi Pat,

    Thank you for this insight. I have been toying with this thought process a bit. Year over year we have followed a basic process of educate on product knowledge and process/procedure. I can see how creating some case scenarios would definitely benefit our new team members by exposing them to the different types of questions/problems they could encounter during their time with us.

    Thanks again!

    Reply
Shep Hyken - December 4, 2017

Be a place people WANT to work. The experience should trump the concept of part-time or seasonality employment.
Make people feel good – even if they are short-term employees. Give them some training so they feel you care enough to invest a little time into their personal development. Let them know at the end of the season they could earn an amazing recommendation letter.
Go back to the great employees of the past and ask for referrals. Your best employees could come from existing employees.

Reply
    Tonya Kinney - December 5, 2017

    Hi Shep,

    Thank you for your comments! We are taking new steps every year to make our office a fun and exciting place to work. We do company outings and keep our break room fully stocked with all kinds of foods to ensure our team is never hangry (LOL). We provide breakfast foods as well as mid-day craving foods. On top of all this we also order meals regularly to refuel the tanks during the craziest part of our season. We love to have FUN while getting the job DONE! 🙂

    Reply
kay valenzuela - December 5, 2017

Hi Tonya!

1-) Have a very clear picture of two things at the time of personnel selection: A) The Employee persona B) What customer’s success should look like.
2-) Design and/or align your business processes and procedures with the Customer’s success in mind.
3-) Make CX an impossible picture to miss by having clear, short, simple and fast procedures with the politics that endorse the expected outcome.
4-) Keep best leaders interested in coming back. Guarantee their job next year.

Reply
    Tonya Kinney - December 5, 2017

    Hi Kay,

    Thank you for your insights.
    When conducting recruiting interviews we do look to hire people whose persona aligns with our current culture. I like your (B) suggestion and I am going to take “What customer’s success should look like” to my present team to see if we really have a solid understand of what customer’s success looks like in our business model. This will help us greatly I am sure.

    Thanks again!

    Reply
Marco Houthuijzen - December 5, 2017

Hi Tonya,

The premise “a seasonal business that starts from scratch every year” is probably wrong. First of all, it is NOT “a seasonal business” but “your”or “the” seasonal business. And “that starts from scratch every year” isn’t true either: aren’t YOU the business’ legacy and ambassador? You know what makes the business successful (products/services, the customers’ needs and expectations regarding the products/services and CX. So hire character and train skill.

Reply
    Tonya Kinney - December 5, 2017

    Hi Marco,

    Thank you for making me take a step back and re-evaluate my questions. You are right, it is the seasonality of the business and each year we make strides that reduce the need to “start from scratch” sort a speak. I appreciate your insight, thanks again!

    Reply
Natalie Calvert - December 5, 2017

Hi Tonya
#1 Please recognise that your CX plan needs a different solution from a technology, people, management and cost perspective
#2 Partner with a great outsource business – that is what they exist for – they have the expertise so tap into it
#3 Develop your Customer Best Practice ‘bible’ and induction programme to set the standards/expectations for your partner
#4 Use your time to expand your business to remove the seasonal trend and level out the revenue/profit streams
Best Natalie

Reply
    Tonya Kinney - December 5, 2017

    Hi Natalie,

    I appreciate your thoughts. We are working towards removing the seasonality of our programs by introducing new service options to a larger market audience. When we first started, our service programs were more for the college sector; however, with our new programs anyone in the US can use our services throughout the year.

    Thanks again!

    Reply
      Natalie Calvert - December 12, 2017

      Hi Tonya
      That is great that you are looking to level things out to a core service model, it will be better for every aspect of the business. You might end up running a two tier cx operation with a mix of in-house and outhouse. It might also be useful to look at a bigger seasonal businesses and examine how they handle things – especially in more complex environments.
      Also, I want to thank you for answering the responses here – it makes a big difference!
      Wishing you every success.
      Natalie

      Reply
Paolo Fabrizio - December 5, 2017

Hi Tonya,

I saw you already got great advice here. Here’s mine: go beyond recruiting and training new CRS. Do schedule weekly ‘moments’ to meet the team and let them share their successes / failures to learn from. Just 15minutes a week. This works very well especially if they lack of experience and, at the same time, helps you build the ‘best practice bible’ well suggested by Nathalie Calvert. Best regards, Paolo

Reply
    Tonya Kinney - December 5, 2017

    Hi Paolo,

    Thank you for your comment. This is a great concept that I think would fit right in with our approach to team building. We conduct weekly management meetings to set goal and daily huddles in the morning to kick start our day and ensure everyone is on the same page. Weekly “moments” as you so brilliantly suggested makes perfect sense as a way to create a cohesive bond between our senior and new team members. 🙂

    Reply
Nick Bush - December 8, 2017

Hi Tonya
I grew up in a seasonal business – a hotel/restaurant that my parents ran in a seaside town in England. This is what I’d tell them now if I could travel back 45 years and give them some advice!

They were good at training up staff in ‘what’ they should do and a bit of ‘how’, but missed out on ‘why’ it should be done. Even though your staff are with you for a short time they need to feel part of a bigger purpose – the mission/why the business exists. Get that right and great CX follows!

Reply
    Tonya Kinney - December 12, 2017

    Hi Nick!

    I get what you are saying and definitely want to better educate our new team members on why we do what we do as it will not only benefit our company but also the new team members in the long run. Thanks so much for your insight!

    Reply

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