Many of us look forward to the holidays. We get excited about the prospect of parties, family gatherings, presents and some much needed time off. But the holiday season also brings an increase in needy customers reaching out to customer support agents in need of immediate help.
In 2021, retail sales grew 17% year-over-year in November and December, so the stakes are high. And in 2020, retail and e-commerce organizations were facing limited staff, frequent shipping issues and more challenging inquiries. Additionally, many organizations now have limited resources and staff at their disposal due to the current macroeconomic environment. The question now becomes, how do you handle the seasonal rush without breaking the bank or disappointing customers?
When combined with all of the above factors, there's a perfect storm of challenges during this year’s holiday season, and customer service teams need to prepare in advance if they’re going to successfully weather it.
Below, we’ll take a look at tips your organization can implement to aid agents in working more efficiently this holiday season – primarily by leveraging emerging support channels and implementing automation technology.
1. Prepare Your Platform for Holiday Traffic
During the holiday season, 49% of businesses report experiencing more digital inquiries. To prepare for a major spike in platform traffic, have your engineering team conduct a readiness review of all your services.
Validate that your services are prepared to automatically scale significantly beyond their normal operating levels in order to prevent any disruption during holiday traffic spikes. Also be sure to consistently review your monitoring to make sure that it is properly tuned. This helps detect any potential problems as early as they arise, allowing your team to intervene if necessary.
2. Identify Channels Primed for Efficiency
Next, it’s important to identify the channels that will empower your organization to strike the right balance between efficiency and effectiveness while resources are tight. When it comes to channels, it’s important to be mindful of shifting consumer preferences. You might just find that the channels that consumers increasingly prefer will also enable your agents to be more efficient. Next, it’s important to identify the channels that will empower your organization to strike the right balance between efficiency and effectiveness while resources are tight. When it comes to channels, it’s important to be mindful of shifting consumer preferences. You might just find that the channels that consumers increasingly prefer will also enable your agents to be more efficient.
A Kustomer research survey found CX professionals believe live chat (79%), social media (72%) and SMS (56%) will become more popular in the next three years while legacy channels like voice will stay the same. It’s important for your organization to prioritize these chat-based channels to meet shifting consumer expectations.
3. Leverage Chat-Based Channels for Quick Responses & Multitasking
Customers prefer chat-based channels, quite simply, because they hate waiting. It doesn’t take much imagination for anyone to recall waiting in a dreadful customer service phone queue.
With chat-based channels, customers expect immediate responses. Unlike voice, agents can handle more than one inquiry at once. Chat and messaging channels allow agents to multitask, handling multiple inquiries simultaneously.
While an agent is waiting for a reply, or having a customer test out a solution, they can pop over to additional customers and get their inquiries sorted out. Because of this, the amount of time each chat takes is much lower than other channels, and significantly less expensive as a result, thus being efficient for both brands and customers alike.
4. Implement Automation to Augment Your Team’s Efficiency
With increased spikes in customer inquiries during the holiday season, technology like automation can enable customer service teams to work more efficiently and focus on the customers who need the most help.
Chatbots can answer simple questions like order status or business hours, and direct customers to a help center if human intervention is not needed. They can also be used to gather initial information before sending a conversation to a live agent.
Oftentimes the most tedious tasks on an agent’s plate are manual and repetitive, and may not require any human intervention. Luckily intelligent automation can auto-populate useful data, like contact information, or tag conversations based on things like issue type or location. Through practices like queues and routing, agents don’t need to waste time transferring customers and redirecting them to the right team. Conversations can be automatically classified and routed to the most appropriate agent for a speedy and personalized resolution.
Earn Customer Loyalty This Holiday Season by Implementing Emerging Channels & Automation
Businesses must ensure they have the right channels and tools in place so busy work can be delegated to technology, thus giving agents more time to tackle challenging inquiries and surface relevant insights to deliver exceptional experiences when it counts this holiday season. Doing so will set your organization up to drive loyalty among consumers in times when resources are scarce.
Want a deeper look at how to develop a CX strategy that’s both efficient and effective? Kustomer has authored a guide on how to jumpstart the process entitled 5 Steps to Develop a More Efficient and Effective CX Strategy. It investigates how to use automation without losing personalization, all while focusing on the right CX metrics to ensure your efforts stay on track. To discover how Kustomer can help your business become more efficient and effective, sign up for a free trial today.