We’re rubbing right against the peak of holiday shopping and preparation. It is, arguably, the most significant time for any retailer, as it sees a significant surge in sales across all sectors and markets, thanks to the trend of buying gifts for loved ones and merchandise for homes. While this surge means good business, it also keeps retail and e-commerce platforms on their toes to deliver the best shopping experience to every buyer despite the big rush.
Even though customers understand that the overwhelming rush is a part of the holiday season shopping, not many are willing to compromise on support and services they expect. And rightly so. Why should a shopper suffer on account of the inadequacies of a retail or e-commerce business?
This brings any retail business face-to-face with the uphill task ofproviding perfect customer support during the holiday season. Acquire brings you seven smart tips for creating a great support experience during the holidays will help you sail through this challenge and make sure the holiday spirit is not dampened for you or your customers:
1. Create a Concrete Plan
It is no secret that bad customer service can quickly make customers switch their loyalty. On the other hand, the holiday season with its huge influx of buyers is a great opportunity to expand your customer base. Oftentimes, the quality of customer support and service can be the difference between the two scenarios. Since a surge in buyers during this time of the year is a foregone conclusion, it is only wise to come up with a concrete plan to handle customer support well in advance.
You can begin by setting up goals and objective for customer support experience, preferably on the basis of the feedback you have received from your buyers in the previous holiday season.
Analyze your hits and misses and evaluate them vis-a-vis your current workflow rate to understand which of your customer support and service practices work and which don’t.
Fill in the gap between support resources at your disposal and customer demands by hiring new employees, training your current workforce or leveraging the power of technology.
Features such as web widgets, chatbots and live chat support can be of great assistance in handling customer service on myriad fronts, right from inquiries to post-purchase support. Once you have formulated a plan, allocate sufficient funds to implement well in time.
2. Chatbots Are the New Elves
The number of customer support calls goes up exponentially during the holiday season, increasing by an average of 17 percent per customer support executive.
With a majority of these inquiries being repetitive in nature, you may risk putting customers with genuine concerns and problems at the other end of frustratingly long waiting periods before their requirements are addressed.
A chatbot can be a double-edged sword that can salvage the situation without adversely impacting your CSAT scores. For one, it saves your employees the agony of answering thesame questions over and over again, thereby, preventing their morale from nose-diving.
Secondly, a well-programmed know-it-all bot can resolve up to 20 percent of queries, making the overall process of customer support more swift andeffective. Chatbots with quick, 24/7 response time can be programmed to respond to customer queries with relevant content from your database, turning leads into sales.
Another great way to leverage the power of Chatbots is to turn your business FAQs into Q&A format data for these instant chats, delivering all the essential information to your customers while saving them the trouble of reading through lengthy content.
3. Integrate Live Chat Support Strategically
Live Chat support is especially crucial for e-commerce platforms. In addition to chatbots designed to address generic queries, investing in a system of personnel-manned live chat support can also go a long way in achieving higher customer satisfaction.
Data from an analysis of 18 million e-commerce sessions over the last holiday season indicated that 74 percent of shopping carts were abandoned by shoppers in the US alone right at checkout. A surefire way to combat this trend of abandoned carts is to encourage customers to go through purchase through strategically placed LiveChat support.
For instance, a customer may abandon a product just before Checkout because they are unsure of the return policy. Having someone they can reach out to right there at the Checkout window can help quell these doubts and deliver a targeted, proactive message that a retailer cares about customers’ shopping experience. Experts believe that this single step can help bolster sales by upto three times.
4. Pave the Way for Customer Self-Service
Customers today overwhelmingly lean in favor of self-service for a simple reason that this reduces the time invested in resolving unambiguous issues and fast tracks the holiday shopping experience.
This is good news for any retail business as the cost of self-service support is much less than the average cost of live service interactions, be it on phone, web chats or emails.
Live chat and automated messaging once again emerge as the ideal tools for promoting in-depth, personalized support that is also automated. For instance, you can create a bundle of popular holiday questions and deliver the answers to these queries directly to your customers via Messenger instead of having them search for it.
These self-service options can also be used to resolve queries of a more specific nature. For instance, a customer can instantly get answers to queries on their order status with help of a self-service chat or messenger service without the need to start an actual conversation.
Another effective way to enable self-service channels is web widget integration that offers support to customers while they are browsing your site or shopping app.
Features like contextual help in these web widgets can deliver all relevant information to the customers based on their browsing history, thus, diverting a substantial load of customer support inputs on other channels such as direct calls, emails, and chats.
5. Leverage the Power of Social Media
Keeping track of all the activity on your social media channels in the midst of this flurry of activity can seem overwhelming and that’s why a large segment of retail businesses tend to overlook this aspect altogether when dealing with the holiday shoppers’ rush.
However, this is exactly the time when you need to remain vigilant on social channels, as a lot of customers may be leaving comments or writing posts, both positive and negative, about their experience of shopping with you.
Make sure you have a proactive social media team that not only monitors the feedback on different social media platforms but also addresses any issues or concerns a buyer or potential buyer may have voiced about your business.
Social media offers unmatched visibility and reaching out to disgruntled customers on these platforms can go a long way in building a positive image for any retail business not just for that one particular buyer but a vast audience of potential buyers.
6. Experiment with Video Messages
Research indicates that people are more drawn to video content than the written word in the realm of virtual space. Tap on the engaging power of this medium to offer any new customer a complete rundown of your store and services.
Instead of waiting for a new user to navigate through your site until they find what they need, greet them with video messages that highlight your holiday specials and lead them to these. It’s somewhat like having a virtual salesperson for your customer base.
You can enhance this experience by linking these video messages to achatbot that automatically answers any generic queries that may not have been covered in the video message or routes the conversation to the right person of contact in your organization if the customer queries are more specific in nature.
This extra touch could take your customer support several notcheshigher and help increase engagement for both new and returning customers substantially.
7. Train and Empower Your Customer Support Team
Customers do not appreciate a sense of apathy from support service executives. Almost each of us has suffered a customer support call that is kept on hold for way too long or transferred over and over again. At best, this sends out a message that the customer support is confused.
At worst, it can seem like they don’t care. As you work to integrate tech tools for customer support in your system, make sure you are also empowering your workforce to work with these tools so that they can come up relevant information, satisfactory answers, and quick solutions instead of passing on the queries up the organisational ladder.
Stay on Top of Your Support Game
Time is of utmost importance when offering customer support during the holidays and it must be your single-minded focus to align the abilities of your support team with support tools like chatbots, live chat, and web widgets handle cases swiftly and decrease the turnaround time.
Holidays present a lucrative opportunity to attract customers and driveup sales, which brings with it the extra pressures of delivering on customer support. An effective and seamless integration of automated processes with thework flow of support teams is the key to make this aspect of retail efficient and scalable.