There’s no contesting the fact that the holidays are usually the biggest revenue driver for any retailer. The period between Black Friday in late November all the way to Boxing Day (December 24th for you non-Canadians) are the most important days for any retailer’s marketing calendar. Top priority is given on how to effectively drive promotions via various marketing channels and beat out the competition. Marketers are obsessed on offering products with huge markdowns and below-cost prices to drive demand and attract price-savvy and sales-hungry holiday shoppers.
So what will differentiate your products/services from that of the competition when consumers are bombarded by a constant stream of competitive offers, all trying to vie for their attention? How do you minimize all that background noise and stand out? The answer: Customer Service. It’s an essential component that will determine if you have the competitive advantage or not all the while attracting consumers to your store because they actually felt like a valued customer which in turn fostered loyalty and ultimately retention. Don’t underestimate its importance because a happy customer is a customer that is bound to come back.
Here are some helpful tips that will get you through the Holiday Madness without sacrificing on customer satisfaction.
1. The Big Focus is Convenience
About 55% of online shoppers prefer convenience over all else. Customers can shop online at any time of the day without having to brave the bad weather while sitting at the comfort of their own home. This is a major plus for all online businesses. Try to cater all your Holiday marketing messaging (email, social etc.) with imagery and content that is geared towards comfort, fun, and enjoyment: Holiday Shopping can be fun without the stress of line-ups, crazy bargain shoppers, sold-out merchandise due to long waiting times or frosty, chilly weather.
2. Provide 24-hr Support
Having a Customer Chat Support line is a great way to engage customers and provide a personalized service that was traditionally associated with brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers should be prepared to rely more heavily on this tool during this coming Holiday Season. Any effort during the holiday rush can make or break the customer experience. Keep in mind that investing in customer support can directly translate to actual sales. Studies have shown that a lot of customer support agents simply don’t take customer service to the next level even if the opportunity presents itself.
Customers prefer chat due to its immediate resolution capabilities and response rates. Focus on staffing on a 24-hr basis & minimizing response rates. What’s also important to note is that a quality response and effective issue resolution is even more important than an immediate response from your customer agent. A customer service agent that is poorly trained can drive your customers away and into your competitor’s backyard. A thorough training program centring on product knowledge, shipping, return & exchange policies should be put in place to provide for a memorable customer experience that will keep those customers coming back for years to come. If you make this your personal mantra, you can turn even disgruntled customers into happy customers.
3. Have Superior Email Marketing
Your customers are more likely to send an email over calling a Customer Support Service Line. This is especially true during the Holiday Season when busy Support lines can be perceived as the worst tool to get ahold of a customer Service Rep. The majority of consumers dread calling customer service, more than one in 10 consumers would rather shop amongst crazy over packed shopping malls during Black Friday than call customer service. They just don’t want to be held up in a waiting queue, especially when the levels of frustration can be at all-time high.
The only drawback here is that email has the worst reputation in terms of issue resolution response rate. Step up your game and ensure your CS agents are well-trained, knowledgeable and quick to respond.
4. Create a Holiday FAQ Page
Yes you heard it! Having a Holiday FAQ Support page with answers to previously asked questions compiled from previous Holiday Shopping seasons can help your customers find the answers they are looking for. Compile a list of previous Holiday customer service issues you faced in the past. Provide the right information with helpful & relevant content. Go straight to the source, ask your Customer Service Reps, or even brick-and-mortar employees if applicable, they were ultimately at the front-line and your best resource for any customer issue encountered and resolved.
52% of customers will abandon a purchase if they can’t find a quick answer, so having a go-to FAQ page will not only help alleviate the pain from your Support team with quick & easy answers but also help your conversions.
Avoid the Holiday Madness
What it comes down to is that any service effort during the crazy Holiday madness can be a defining factor in terms of customer experience. Do your due diligence in implementing a successful Holiday Customer Service strategy & you will end up be in the winning position over your competition. Spread the Holiday cheer & never forget that investing in customer support and going that extra mile can directly translate to actual sales.