As we approach the end of 2020, two of the most exciting shopping days are quickly knocking on our doors: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Customer service needs are going to be very different this year, from the pandemic influencing customer behaviour to the new online shopping landscape.
So what’s your plan to handle the customer support spikes? Don’t panic! Still have enough time to get ready. We have prepared for you an actionable plan on how to elevate the Customer Service and embrace successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Set your call center team up for success and smash the holiday rush, to take advantage of the massive influx of happy customers and sales rewards.
But first, let’s have a quick look at the forecasts, before diving into the strategies.
2020 Holiday Season Forecasts
This holiday season is about to start and you need to reinforce your call center to handle the flow of customer calls. Deloitte’s forecasts predict that E-commerce sales are expected to grow by 25% to 35% during the 2020-2021 shopping season. Adobe estimates that Black Friday is expected to generate $10 billion in online sales, while Cyber Monday will reach $12.7 billion remaining the biggest online shopping day of the year. Your Customer Support team needs to be prepared to get the most out of those weeks of cheer.
The Importance of Great Customer Service
96% of people define customer service as essential for their brand loyalty. Ensuring a great customer experience is the key to increase your call center success and retain satisfied clients. Agents are the heroes on the frontline dedicated to an immediate solution to customer problems. To guarantee the smooth running of your call center, you need to be fully prepared to handle the overall support volume and deliver an exceptional CX on the upcoming holidays.
3 Actionable Strategies for a Successful Customer Service During 2020 Holiday Spikes
Power your call center up for success with these actionable strategies for superior customer service.
1. Prepare Your Processes.
Take advantage of the Holiday rush game and run your processes smoothly.
Draw Insights to Predict The Workload
The first step is to dig into the previous historical data to evaluate trends, analyze performance and consider the challenges this year. Your next step is to create an actionable Customer Support strategy, taking into account your hiring needs, objectives you want to achieve and evolving customer behaviour.
Analyzing customer service demands can help you schedule coverage across support channels. This way you avoid delays in services and protect customer satisfaction.
Speedy Problem Solving
Customers prefer contacting businesses via phone, as the fastest way to solve their urgent inquiries. 90% of them rate the immediate response as very important. That’s why the smartly designed IVR system enables quick help to customers and facilitates your phone lines for complex issues that need agent assistance. This empowers your call center to exceed customer expectations even during rushes like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Answer Customer Questions
Review the most frequent questions to your support team and make them handy to your agents and customers:
- Easy to Navigate FAQ. To relieve your team from repeated queries, you need an informative and easy to navigate FAQ section on your website. Create help articles for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and deploy them in key areas of the shopping experience to reduce confusion. The more information you comprise, the more time you free up for your agents to focus on more difficult cases.
- Comprehensive Knowledge Base. Make sure that your Knowledge Base is easily accessible and freshly updated with all the Holiday Sales information that customers or agents might search. The Help Center is a massive time saver that provides quality self-support and directly impacts your call center effectiveness.
- Nifty Saved Responses. Having some canned responses handy will prepare your agents for high volumes of unexpected customer requests. Craft some detailed replies about shipping or exchanges to speed up your response times.
Spending time to improve these resources will pay off many times when the Holiday Rush kicks-off.
Make it Easy to Contact You
Make sure that your Contact Pages and Social Media accounts are active and updated with all the necessary information. Add Live chat or Email to provide multi-channel help to your customers and gain their trust. Run Email and Retargeting campaigns to reward subscribers with special offers and exclusive Black Friday discounts.
Plan the Contingencies
When the rush floods you, having a backup plan can save the day! Try to prepare for the small issues that can bring chaos to your Support teams. Whether it’s a payment problem, discount code activation, or cancelled order, these events can slow down processes and distract your team. So try to handle this massive influx of requests and plan everything ahead of time.
Analyze the Performance
Investing time to record all the lessons from your Black Friday / Cyber Monday season is a gift for your team, saving time and headaches for the next year. Evaluate all the essential stuff for the holiday campaign, processes that slowed you down, and redundant operations. At the end of the rush, analyze the data you collected and optimize the processes for the next year to empower your call center to perform even better.
2. Care For Your Customers.
Encourage your customers and show empathy during these stressful times. Here are a few ideas on how to gain their trust and reward them with a great customer experience:
Manage Customer Expectations
Remember, always underpromise and overdeliver. This helps to manage expectations and set the stage for a positive experience.
- Availability. Let your customers know your extended or reduced working hours to help them plan when to contact you.
- Response Times. Proactively announce if response times are significantly longer than usual. Update your chat message and auto-reply email to share how long it takes to receive help from you. Set realistic expectations to inspire patience and understanding from your customers.
- Delivery and Returns. Defining accurately your return policy and delivery dates are crucial for maintaining customer happiness around the holidays.
Priority Support to Customers
Try to identify the most urgent questions and address them quickly to ensure priority problems are solved first. The key to successfully fix issues is an empathic agent that anticipates customer needs.
Train Agents to Help Frustrated Customers
Prepare your team for stressed people in a hurry. Train agents to remain calm and use a positive attitude to de-escalate any situation and keep customers happy. Of course, don’t forget to establish a policy for abusive customer behaviour as well. Call recording function may help with this.
Most customers would prefer the option to help themselves so it’s essential to update your website with self-support resources. Provide clarity through the overall purchasing process – from placing to receiving the order. Good self-service can be also found in community spaces where clients can help each other with common basic issues.
Automate Where Possible
Automation can save up a lot of time for your agents during the rush season. One of its biggest advantages is to reduce response times, smooth the support process and relieve the stress. Take an omnichannel approach to customer support issues to manage the workflow and enrich the customer experience you provide.
Say Thank You
Take a moment to thank your shoppers for their patience and loyalty. They will appreciate your efforts and build a great relationship with you.
3. Empower Your Team.
No matter how well prepared your call center is, the holiday rush can be exhausting for a customer service folk, so you need to take a few steps to look after your team.
Expand Your Support Team
If you expect a significant increase in customer volume, it’s time to hire a helping staff to land a hand. To handle the influx of customer support needs, you can consider either:
1) Temporary hires on board to jump in quickly and help for a couple of months, or
2) Outsourced call centers (BPOs) providing support as flexible extensions of your team.
Adjusting your team for the seasonality allows you to easily scale up and down to manage the customer support demands. Being strategic and planning ahead your workloads is a step further to ensure a successful holiday season for your team and an exceptional CX for your customers.
Ensure Effective Onboarding
Try to organize a proper training and fast onboarding to the new support reps so they can hit the ground running when jumping into your team. You need to update your onboarding training guides and make them handy to your agents and outsourced staff. Give them easy access to your systems and resources to ensure they can provide a smooth customer journey.
Let your agents solve customer requests independently, especially during the holiday season when time is of the essence. Give them freedom and creativity to handle complex cases – whether that means offering a discount or negotiating a refund. Afterwards, your call center can reduce holding times and transfers, while agents can focus on customer retention.
When scheduling your support coverage, execute team rotations through different fields to avoid burnout – from phone to social media, or chat to email. The change will give mental breaks and will help you spread skills across your team.
Coordinate Forces With Other Teams
Align with other teams to make sure their work will not affect your customer support efforts. The holidays are not the best time for a development release or live testing, so you need to collaborate with your colleagues to ensure a smooth Black Friday & Cyber Monday season.
Keep Your Team Happy and Motivated
Align the excellent customer service with team happiness. Motivate your agents and foster extra breaks to encourage work balance. Inspire reps with successful client stories and great client feedback, or celebrate milestones to brighten up their day. Keep your team happy, so they can be motivated to take care of your customers.
We believe more and more businesses are evolving in their Customer Service. Your call center needs a smart plan, process tweaks and a powerful team to thrive and deliver high-quality customer journeys.
Fortunately, you are prepared for the Holiday support success! Follow our practical advices to enhance your team and provide a seamless customer experience.
The Callplan team has got your back 24/7 during the Holiday rush, so if you need help, get in touch with us.
We wish you a wonderful Black Friday and Cyber Monday season so pour yourself a big cup of cheer!