The time of Christmas or the Holiday Season is significant for every retailer on earth, as the period sees significant growth in sales for all markets and sectors. This spur in the purchase rate occurs due to the fact that most people buy supplies, gifts, merchandises, and presents for themselves and their loved ones.
This year alone, Deloitte predicts there will be a 19% growth for e-commerce websites against last year’s holiday sales numbers. Source
Because of this surge, companies always stay on their heels to deliver the best experience to all their customers and clients despite the huge rush. Although even the customers realize that the holiday season is one of the most pivotal periods for all online retailers. Still, not a single soul would willingly like to compromise on customer support and service.
And, rightly so, why should the shoppers suffer, when it is the job of your online store to provide the best possible user support to all your clients, irrespective of the demand. But, providing perfect consumer support during the holiday season may just be uphill for not only your support team but also for your whole organization.
Thankfully, since we believe that the holiday spirit should be dampened in any way, we are offering you a small guide on how to properly handle your client support structure during the holiday period in a very efficient and effective way. Believe us; this will enable you to serve your eager shoppers in the best possible way.
1. Create a concrete plan beforehand
66% of shoppers change their loyalty if they face bad customer service: - Accenture
If you really want to tackle the holiday period as a pro, then you have to plan beforehand. Making a strategy right at the 11th hour won’t be a plausible thing to do. Your organization has to prepare a concrete plan at least two or three months before the peak period starts.
The things that you have to consider then are as follows:
- Setting up prior goals and objectives
- Implement feedbacks from existing client
- Check your current workflow rate and number of successful cases
- Understand what your shoppers need and want
- Take data from customer satisfaction ranks - www.theacsi.org
- Hiring or giving extra training to current employees
- Buying more equipment or overheads like tools or office space etc.
- Dedicating a larger budget for customer support only for the holiday period.
- Checking out the trends—of your own previous experiences and of the market— to estimate and forecast on how many inquiring shoppers you will get.
Whatever decision you make or ignore, you have to start as early as possible so that you have a proper roadmap on the table for everyone to understand and memorize.
2. Use tools to make the process a breeze for everyone
63% of firms expect to spend more money on shopping support experience: Temkin
It does not matter how good and competent your support team is if it has to trade with outdated technology and machine. As a company, you have to provide your agents with the right tools to have a meaningful conversation and interaction with your shoppers.
47% of shoppers want a fast reply to all questions, problems, feedback, or complaint. Source
There are several tools and software available that your customer support team can use to pacify all the needs of your clients. During the holiday season, it will be vital that your team provides correct help and aid, in a timely manner, to resolve issues. Tools like Acquire Live Chat can assist in this case.
Created as an excellent consumer aid tool, Live Chat allows agents to do real-time messaging, video chatting, audio chatting, co-browsing, screen sharing, file sharing, and call recording with their clients. The tool provides features and aids that can allow your team to resolve issues and give instructions to your shoppers in a quick manner.
And, during the holiday season, the tool can become a useful product to your agents to use. Likewise, even your shoppers can use the traits of the product to resolve their queries and problems.
3. Provide training and empower your team
Customers do not like it when their call is kept on hold or is transferred too many times. In order to save their time and your resources, you must enable your agents and executives to solve cases. For this, you have to provide them the authority and empower them so that they can come up with a quick solution—rather than a referral to a superior.
The worst line a shopper can hear on the phone: “Your call is very important to us. Please continue to stay on the line and hold”. Source— American Express Survey, 2011
Time is of the essence during the holidays, and be confident that your customer support team handles and solves cases quickly. Empowering your team is one of the best ways to lower turnaround timings.
Just make sure your team has the knowledge to handle most cases, and they have the right information and data to solve the issue and answer the question. Once they have the authority to make calls, you will find faster success rates.
Apart from that, you can even invest your time and resource in training the right people. For this, proper knowledge transfer is a must. If you and your organization are serious about providing a good experience to all your shoppers, then your vision must emit the same thing. Once your team is trained with the right vision and philosophy to help your shoppers, nothing can go wrong.
Also, train your people about your product and service thoroughly. If they do not know about the core of what you do, then they will falter at even the simplest of questions.
4. Make consumer support a company-wide policy
77% of firms either want to grow or at least maintain their current support team size for the next couple of years: Deloitte
There are two possibilities in this respect. First of all, if you believe that you do not need to hire extra people, then you can provide little training and knowledge to your people from other departments and put them in your support team just for the holiday period.
This will not only save your tons of money as you won’t have to hire new people, but it would also lessen the pressure on your core support team.
The holiday season will duly get its fair share of aggrieved and confused shoppers, and the ‘all hands on deck’ approach will surely provide enough support to see you through the peak time.
Just make sure you provide your makeshift support members with the content (data and information), authority (to make decisions), and few basic know-hows (answers to most common questions) so that they get geared up for the extravaganza.
The second approach here is to make sure that every single department is accountable for customer support during the holiday season. This process may require some form of training and orientation again as it will involve shoppers talking directly to the concerned department. Once your whole organization starts interacting with people, it will automatically increase the case solving pace and your people would also learn quickly.
It will also take enormous pressure off from your support team’s shoulder. Just remember, during the holiday time, you may have to endure some easy—and let’s be honest, some simple questions. Yes, in some cases, the answers would be so uncomplicated that anyone in your company could be able to portray it!
All of this will only deliver one single outcome—faster support results.
Just Check out what Jeff Bezos and Amazon team think about training everyone for customer support.
5. Provide extra things - keep your team happy and motivated
“If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”: Richard Branson
The theory is quite simple. If you keep your team motivated and happy, then you will, in turn, make sure that they keep your shoppers happy. At the end of the day, your shoppers have to line up in front of your support team to portray their feelings. So, it is vital and essential that you must keep your agents and executives happy first, as the whole show will depend on them and their performance.
78% shoppers believe happy service can only be possible with good agents and representatives. Source: The Cost of Poor Customer Service
Since it will be a known fact that the holiday period will see a substantial rise in customer complaints and feedbacks, you have to provide that extra incentive to your agents as well. Just take care of them, think about their working hours during the peak time, let them have the extra coffee breaks, give out free cupcakes, award them, pat their backs when they deserve it, be generous with your rewards, and bestow them with holiday bonuses. Do anything just keep your team motivated and happy so that, in turn, they provide your shoppers with the best support.
Remember, they are giving up on their holidays just to make sure that your company provides that all important support during the peak period—thus they are indirectly increasing your brand reputation.
6. Be humanistic in your approach as it’s the holiday season
35% of people have lost their temper whilst interacting with service: American Express
If you put your focus towards the customer— and upon the problem, they are facing— then you are giving emphasis to a very humanistic approach to solving issues. Remember, emotions will run high during the holiday season as people would like to get/resolve things in a very short span of time. Hence, a little empathy and some sympathy here and there will not hurt.
Your team has to be prepared for some wrath and harsh words from your shoppers. Many may just be upset or angry about a minuscule thing, but it will be your team’s duty to solve it. So, you might as well train your team to rectify and tackle the issue with a smile rather with than a grumpy—and a not my problem type—attitude.
91% of unhappy shoppers will not do business with your firm ever again: Lee Resources
All you need to do is provide your customer with some support that they dearly need during the time of crisis, hear your clients out wholeheartedly, say sorry for the convenience caused, resolve the problem quickly without any hassle, and say a thank you for choosing your firm.
“Customers do not expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong”: Donald Porter
Sometimes the process is this simple and clear. We now hope that with this knowledge in your purse, you would certainly be able to serve your shoppers in the right way even during the holiday rush.