The holiday season promises a lot more customers, a lot more orders and revenue as well as headaches, hassle and problems, IF your customer service is not prepared for it well enough.
You can either achieve the greatest success or the greatest disaster... Let’s try to avoid the second option by following some recommendations that will improve your customer experience during the holidays.
How you can serve your customers during the holiday season 2017:
1. Forecasting, planning, preparation.
Effective customer support during the holidays starts with smart planning and forecasting. The best thing to do is to check the number of sales, orders, shipments, requests and other numbers from last year’s statistics.
You can even divide the peaks of the season into Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. Looking at every individual date and at the entire period will help you in many aspects, such as scheduling, training, determining staff levels and so on. This way you will know what to expect, how much additional staff to involve, how many backup plans to create, not to mention additional inventory to purchase, and so forth.
If, for some reason, you do not have this valuable data from the last year, make sure you make a record in 2017.
2. Train your staff seriously.
Once you’ve scheduled the teams and dragged in the additional human resources, focus on the multifunctionality skills of each member in your team.
The worst thing that might happen is your staff bouncing the customers from one phone line to another and juggling your valued, willing-to-pay consumers in the air by passing them from one department to another. This will not be perceived as favorable customer support even during the holiday madness!
If testing their nervous system and patience sounds like a bad idea, you had better train your staff in such a way that one person will be able to accommodate a customer fully and be knowledgeable about the most common inquiries from other departments. You need to prepare your teams for that and if they do transfer the customer, the chances are high that this will be the last time they hear from this person. There’s no need to tell you where the customer will go afterwards.
3. Distribute the customer volume through multiple channels.
You should allocate your forces in order to be prepared for a massive attack of potential buyers. They will use each and every possibility to reach out to your staff and, at the same time, will expect the usual impeccable customer service experience even on holidays.
They will try reaching you via phone, live chat, email, contact form, social media messages and so on. By increasing the number of channels, you will increase the number of customers you can accommodate and win. At the same time, you need to make sure they know about all these possible points of contact. And, most importantly, it’s your duty to ensure that you have enough people to cover all these channels.
4. Self-service can be a lifesaver in many cases.
If you have your help center designed to help instead of creating more doubts and confusion, it will reduce a massive number of incoming inquiries. Hence, you need to revise the main segments of your self-service portal, make sure it’s 100% compatible with a mobile version and easy to navigate.
Investments in your customer help center will be compensated by sales because more people will be able to find the answers to their basic questions themselves, leaving people with complex inquiries to be served by your customer service agents.
You can find more hints on improving your help center in our next article.
5. Create a fun challenge for your customer service team during the holidays.
The stakes are getting higher and higher and so does the stress level of everybody in your team. Hold on for a second. Stress has never been and never will be your partner. If you manage to turn this increased workload into a fun game or challenge, it will keep your staff more focused and productive.
Come up with worthy rewards and scores that your team will be excited about. Who will get the highest customer satisfaction score? Who will accommodate the biggest number of orders? Who will address the biggest number of requests? The list can continue depending on your KPIs.
Once you do that, any negative stress will be magically turned into a tough and competitive challenge.
Hopefully, these simple tips on holiday customer service will help you hit record high sales and achieve more in your business!