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Seasonal Hiring and Virtual Contact Centers - The Best Defenses for Holiday Shopping

TMCnews Featured Article

December 27, 2011

Seasonal Hiring and Virtual Contact Centers - The Best Defenses for Holiday Shopping

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor

With the last of the Christmas egg nog drank and the Hanukah candles blowing out tonight, it is time to look ahead to other cheery things – like the fact that a rise in seasonal hiring this year helped contribute to November’s lower unemployment rate.

This year, on a national level, almost 550,000 seasonal jobs were filled by October, and analysts are predicting that when all is said and done we will have seen the highest number of seasonal jobs in 2011 since 2007, before the recession hit, according to the global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. 

One area that truly benefited from the surge in seasonal hiring was the Space Coast in Florida where unemployment was tipping at around 11 percent. A recent article noted that these temporary jobs have been highly revered for the opportunities they present for unemployed or struggling consumers to enjoy some sort of holiday celebration.

This year, there was certainly a need for heightened seasonal hiring as the National Retail Federation forecast a record $469 billion in holiday sales this year, up 3.8 percent from 2010. Central Florida was ready to address this surge as companies like GSI hired 1,100 temporary workers, several hundred more than last year. Staffing agencies also had their hands full.

“We have seen an uptick in hiring,” said Bill Peppler, managing partner of Kavaliro, a Central Florida staffing services firm.

Earlier this year, several big shot companies announced their plans to rev up their hiring in time for the holiday sales. Specifically, Global Responses, a call center located in Margate, Fla., hired an additional 100 call center workers for the holiday sales season, according to Wendy Shooster, co-owner of the family-operated business. Moreover, Macy’s announced that it is boosting its holiday hiring by four percent this year, adding 78,000 workers nationwide at its contact centers, distribution centers and online fulfillment centers.

In addition to seasonal hiring, another component that can help during the frenetic holiday season is a virtual contact center, which not promises great operational expense reductions but increased efficiencies as well.

A virtual contact center, which affords businesses an alternative to expensive premise-based technology, offers a wealth of benefits – most importantly the fact that you can fill a seasonal agent position quickly and without having to front huge capital. By having a subscription as a service model, companies are only required to pay for what they consume which translates to no wasted investment on technology that will go unused for the majority of the year.

Moreover, virtual contact center software equips companies with all the tools and technologies that are needed, which are on-demand and ready to go when you are. This goes not only for workstations within your call center, but also for home agents, who can connect to your virtual contact center through any sufficiently connected PC. By enabling agents to access tools from anywhere, the pool of potential contact center employees is widened and, accordingly, a company can reap a higher level of customer service.

Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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