Hackernoon logoCustomer Support: Is Your Team Ready for the Holidays? by@dariasup

Customer Support: Is Your Team Ready for the Holidays?

Daria Leshchenko Hacker Noon profile picture

@dariasupDaria Leshchenko

CEO of SupportYourApp, Support as a Service for tech. Co-founder of Label Your Data

This year’s holiday shopping season will be different due to altered consumer behavior from COVID-19. Some things though will stay the same, like the increased pressure on your customer support team. 

With a challenging financial situation all around the economy, the holidays are a good opportunity for businesses to bounce back. But since during this period the amount of negative feedback increases by over 68 percent, poor customer service can have a lasting impact. 

Customer service was named as one of the most important factors for 39% of holiday shoppers. So in order to stand out in the competitive market and score during this holiday season, your company has to provide exceptional customer support. 

Retail and eCommerce Statistics for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Retailers and e-commerce are #1 victims of the avalanche called customer support inquiries. E-commerce receives 21% more queries on Black Friday and 46% more on Cyber Monday. Retailers have a 42% increase in queries during the holidays. Most SupportYourApp clients, SaaS, fintech and software companies, experience from 20% to 70% increases in customer support tickets over the holiday sales season. 

With more customers adopting online shopping the busiest channel is expected to be live chats. But researches indicate that in a heightened emotional state, e.g. Christmas preparation rush or last-minute holiday shopping, people prefer calling to other ways of reaching out to customer support. 

The peak days for customer support are December 12-13, but most shipping queries, that are typical for retailers and e-commerce, come around December 20. We noticed that the busiest day for tech-related companies is Black Friday since people tend to hunt a particular deal or discount rather than shop for presents. 

Fintech companies, unlike other businesses who see the decrease in queries at the end of December, experience a high volume of queries until February. It may be because of credit payments that people deal with a month after the shopping fewer. 

How to survive Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2020

Prevent. Most customer support inquiries could be covered in the FAQ section. Be sure to update it with Covid-related questions about new rules of return policies or business hours. Put a banner on your website with the most important information your customers can not miss.  Provide them with order tracking tools and updates to decrease the level of anxiety and check-in inquiries. 

Prepare. Analyze your last holiday season’s customer service metrics to see what to expect this year. Calculate the ratio of inquiries to sold units, unique visitors or overall purchases to find out the correlation between sales and customer support tickets. Be sure to overlap it with shifts in customers’ preferences, caused by the Covid-19, and get an idea of the number of inquiries to expect. 

Take control of the volume of tickets by starting the shopping season sooner to spread out the workload: introduce early-bird pricing and special offers. 

Automate as many queries as possible: chatbots for checking order or shipping status, template answers in live chat, smartly organized phone “tree” system for gathering information and resolving basic requests. Since 81% of customers attempt to resolve their problems before reaching out to a representative, you can save everyone’s time with customer self-service.

Expand your customer service team. Despite all the automation solutions and preventive methods, the spiking number of queries is inevitable. Hiring and training seasonal representatives may be costly so consider cooperation with outsourcing companies that can scale fast. Many of them introduce special offers anticipating businesses’ demand for extra staffing. 

Remember that many businesses make over 20% of their annual revenue in holiday sales. In 2020, it’s a chance to make up for the losses of the year and get a much-needed financial boost. By providing exceptional customer service your business can emerge a winner from the crisis.

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