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Looking inside Father Christmas’ contact centre

By december 19, 2023No Comments4 min read

With the number of sleeps until the big day dropping fast, Father Christmas and his team are flat out getting ready for December 25th. Customer service is central to Santa’s success, so we trekked to the North Pole to find out more. After dodging the polar bear guards, we sneaked a behind the scenes look at the man in red’s contact centre. How does it cope with millions of interactions, without disappointing any (nice) children?

While from the outside Santa’s HQ might look traditional, inside it’s a high-tech operation, relying on five key technologies:

1. A cloud-based platform for scale

At its peak Santa is receiving and responding to hundreds of thousands of children’s messages and Christmas lists. Yet, in January the systems, like Father Christmas himself, go into a well-deserved hibernation. To scale to meet demand Santa has invested in a cloud-based contact centre as a service platform, housed securely in a nearby glacier. This means that Father Christmas never has issues with downtime – and he uses the heat provided by the servers to keep the contact centre snug and warm for his elves.

2. Microsoft Teams for collaboration

There are a lot of elves involved in getting ready for Christmas. They cover everything from building toys, logistics and, of course, keeping the reindeer under control. Whatever their role, they all need to collaborate seamlessly to ensure the right toys get to the right girls and boys on time. That’s why Santa has integrated his contact centre with Microsoft Teams. This provides instant communication between all the elves. Moreover, it gives them the ability to work together digitally to get the job done across every channel

3. Generative AI to increase personalisation

In years gone by, elves had to handwrite hundreds of thousands of replies to children’s letters. Not only was this incredibly time-consuming, but it led to lots of elves getting writer’s cramp and having to take time off work, throwing schedules into chaos. Thankfully, Father Christmas has now embraced generative AI to lessen the load on his hard-working team. They use ChatGPT (Gift & Present Tracker) to scan and cross-reference all incoming letters against the Naughty/Nice database. A personalised response is then created, handwritten by machine and dispatched.

4. A focus on the agent experience

Santa has always been big on Elf and Safety. He knows that the better you treat your people, the happier and more productive they are. When it comes to technology, he gives his elf agents access to all the systems they need through a unified desktop and an AI-powered knowledge base. In addition, of course, to state-of-the-art headphones to provide them with continuous Christmas music as they work. Elves also benefit from access to real-time information from their colleagues located on shelves across the world, giving them a complete, unified picture of children and their behaviour.

5. Insights to look forward to 2024

Customer needs change rapidly, yet Santa has stayed on top of all the major toy trends for centuries. This isn’t just luck, but a highly sophisticated Voice of the Customer programme. Santa analyses all his incoming letters, emails and social media messages and uses these to accurately predict what the popular presents will be come the big day. All of this data feeds into his contact centre’s inbuilt reporting. This provides senior elves (and Father Christmas himself) with interactive dashboards to show what’s in demand around the world and how the contact centre is performing overall.

So, as you settle down on Christmas Eve, take a moment to think about the incredible customer service team behind the whole Santa experience. What lessons can you learn for improving your operations in 2024?

Helen Billingham