The holiday season is upon us, and if you haven’t already begun to see a spike in sales, you will by the time November rolls around in just a few short days. Last year, online spending grew exponentially. Adobe Analytics reported that 2020 U.S. holiday eCommerce spending grew 32% to an impressive $188 billion, and they expect online spending to grow between 5% ($198 billion) and 15% ($216 billion) this year. With consumers spending more online this holiday season than ever before, refining your customer experience is more important than ever.
Warren Buffet once said that “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” More true words have never been uttered in the exceptionally fast world of eCommerce. One bad experience can turn a previously loyal customer into a vocal opponent. But when you take steps to mitigate customer dissatisfaction, you’re actively giving them reasons to advocate for others to buy from you (and enlarging your slice of the $200 billion pie). That’s why in this article we’re going to discuss a few ways that you can prepare your customer experience teams for the holiday shopping season.
Leverage Your Data
Your data is one of the most important assets your business has, and if you’re not leveraging it to learn how you can improve your CX offerings and ensure customer satisfaction, you’re not taking advantage of its potential. There’s still time this holiday season to utilize your business’s data to give consumers an experience that they won’t forget.
If you haven’t started leveraging your consumer data to improve customers’ experiences, using your past data to identify trends and prepare your customer service teams is the right starting point. There are three key areas where your business can use previous years’ data to improve the customer experience: predicting consumer behavior, anticipating common issues and complaints, and ensuring server readiness.
1. Predicting Consumer Behavior
Understanding consumer behavior is imperative to ensure a fluid, satisfying customer experience. How can leveraging data help you achieve that end? By analyzing data, you’re able to understand consumer behavior and create demand forecasts. These forecasts provide you with insights into which products were most popular during specific time periods. That way you can make sure you have enough stock once they start flying off the shelves. When you understand these trends and plan accordingly, your CX team is going to thank you for saving them from having to deal with tons of angry customers whose orders got canceled due to product shortages.
2. Anticipating Common Issues and Complaints
To get the most out of your data, you need to be identifying the most common complaints among your customers and take steps to mitigate them. Are you getting complaints about shipping info not being sent in a timely manner? Then there may be an issue with your post-purchase email flows. If certain problems are arising from specific products, identifying these before the holiday spending season allows you to create game plans that dictate how your CX teams should resolve service tickets revolving around those issues.
3. Ensuring Server Readiness
When your website goes down or loading times are at crawling speeds, you’re letting money walk right out the door with every passing second. Every year, businesses lose millions of dollars due to IT issues. This is especially important to recognize if your business relies solely on eCommerce sales and has no physical presence. By leveraging past website traffic data, you can pinpoint when traffic will be the highest and scale up the capabilities of your servers to accommodate the influx of customers.
These are just a few of the benefits that data analysis can provide for your business. Data is an extremely important facet of your business and can provide you with the insights you need to make critical business decisions—especially and companies transition towards omnichannel customer experiences. With an omnichannel experience, the data from each of your channels is centralized and stored in a single repository as opposed to individual data silos. As a data-first CX Outsourced Partner, ProximoCX is dedicated to helping you craft an omnichannel customer experience that will push your business forward based on strategic insights located in your data.
Scale Up Your Support Staff
One of the most common complaints that consumers have with the various customer experiences they engage in over the holidays is long queue lines. While this can certainly be an issue year-round, it’s an especially prolific problem during the holiday season. According to Gartner contributor Jordan Bryan, call centers experience “intense spikes of up to 10 times normal call volume” over the holidays.
That’s an exponential increase, and it’s likely that your regular support staff will be unable to handle a tenfold increase in volume. So in order to handle this spike in calls—while keeping your queue times as low as possible—you need to increase the size of your customer support staff. Not only will this help keep your customers happy, but you’ll be taking a load off the shoulders of your regular support staff. The last thing you want is your representatives getting burned out due to a high number of calls from displeased customers.
With that being said, you’re not going to need an exponentially larger support staff around the clock, and determining the times when you’ll need to expand your customer service team actually goes hand-in-hand with leveraging your data. Once you’ve analyzed your data, you’ll have a deeper understanding of when your support staff historically saw the highest call/ticket volume over the holiday season. Once you’re able to pinpoint these upticks in volume, you can plan accordingly and scale up your business accordingly.
ProximoCX is the Outsourced Partner you need when you’re looking to scale up your customer service staff. Our services are fully scalable and can be adjusted to meet your company’s needs. The representatives at our nearshore contact center are available 24/7 to provide your customers with around-the-clock support.
Automate Time-Consuming Processes
We’ve already iterated the importance of reducing wait times and freeing up support staff, but increasing the size of your support staff isn’t the method you can implement to achieve that goal. Making an effort to adopt a multi-faceted approach to the issue will provide you with a well-rounded solution to effectively reduce the amount of time your customers spend waiting for support.
Finding ways to automate basic requests and support tickets will ensure that customers whose issues are more routine don’t inflate your support line queue times. They’ll get access to the solution they need quicker, and customers whose problems are more complex won’t spend as much time waiting for a representative. Everyone wins. Customer service chatbots are one of the tools you should consider implementing to help cut down wait times and improve customer satisfaction.
Chatbots are capable of answering the more simple, routine questions that your customer service reps would otherwise receive; they can even be programmed to walk customers through the steps they can take to resolve issues themselves. If you’re wondering how chatbots can perform these actions, the answer is Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. They can even be taught to recognize the common uses of specific words through natural language programming (NLP). You don’t even need to worry about the loss of personalization as chatbots can be taught to pull customer information to be more personable and conversational.
Chatbots and similar AI tools are extremely versatile and can be deployed across your different platforms. They aren’t even confined solely to customer service; there are chatbots for sales, lead cultivation, and a variety of other processes. However, these tools aren’t without their limitations. Chatbots can only do so much and aren’t advanced enough to fully remove humans from the customer service equation. That being said, with AI-powered chatbots taking care of simple routine problems, your representatives are free to handle more complex issues.
Make Your Intern Teams Feel Valued
Maya Angelou said it best, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is truly the essence of building a positive customer experience, and it doesn’t revolve solely around your customers. While data analysis, scaling, and chatbots are all solutions that can be outsourced, your company is the only group that can make your employees feel valued. Your employees are the heartbeat of your customer service, and their happiness can either strengthen or destroy your customer satisfaction levels.
In a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, there was a positive correlation between the employee satisfaction levels and a company’s rating on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (which also correlated to stronger stock growth). Customers are generally more demanding and frustrated when they encounter problems during the holiday season, and while it’s always the hope that they won’t take their frustration out on your service reps, we’d be remiss to dismiss the fact that it happens. That can take a toll, but you can help avoid burnout by finding ways to show them your appreciation and investing in an outsourced support center ready to scale when bandwidth amongst your team gets tight.
We’re Ready To Reinforce Your Teams
The busiest time of the year for eCommerce is already here, but it’s not too late to give your teams the reinforcements they need to keep your customers satisfied this holiday season. As a data-first contact center, we’re dedicated to helping you build an omnichannel customer experience that will facilitate a strong sense of brand loyalty within your customers. Our services are designed to scale alongside your businesses so you can get the support you need when you need it.
Whether you’re looking to increase the scale of your customer service teams, bolster your sales with additional sales support, or relieve your IT teams with additional technical support, we have the people and technology to take your customer experience to the next level.
Contact us today to receive a custom proposal and discover what’s next for your CX.