Follow industry headlines much? Retail, dubbed “a daily barometer for the nation’s economy,” is set to measure high again this holiday season, according to forecasts.

All good news, right?

For retailers, it comes with a qualified yes, however. That’s provided customer service operations are prepped for the upcoming holidays, with reinforcements at the ready.

And we’re not just talking seasonal temps here. Recruited en masse. Reciting customer responses by rote. Sandwiched in between the retail rush and crunch.

What consumers expect are articulate sales and customer service reps—online and in person—well-versed in the products and services being sold. Just like the consumers who are buying them. Intelligent contact agents who also complement IA-enabled self-service.

Is that too much to ask? We think not.

Call center operations are pressed to perform at year-end. Agree? So, let’s slip the laundry list of suggestions and scope out a few telling Q&As that can determine success, such as:

Can You Find Qualified Help?

The dark side of record employment is making businesses desperate to find good workers—for full-time jobs with benefits, let alone part-time, seasonal positions. Got a pipeline in place to ensure a steady flow of qualified applicants who: 1) understand retail; 2) know how to sell; and 3) are skilled in customer service?

Once hired, how fast can you educate them in your business and brand? After all, they represent your company. On the job, can they achieve the metrics that matter most for satisfaction and success? Best get them right—or customers could get righteous. Here’s a refresher on consumer preferences:

More online wish lists: NRF’s survey indicates that notes…