The first and last months of every year is packed with festivity and joy. For people, the holiday season is all about down time, binge-watching, binge-eating and impulsive shopping, which translates to increased business opportunities. The holidays can be a crucial period for businesses – holiday shopping means an increase in online activity and customer queries. According to Freshdesk, 59% of customers plan to shop online during the holidays, website traffic increases 63%, and customer service requests rise 75%.
Inadequate customer support during this busy time can impact business through the next year. The research above also found that 66% of customers will stop being loyal if they are dissatisfied with a business’s customer service.
To avoid losing clients during the holiday season, here is how you can ensure that your business provides the best service possible, helping customers retain their holiday spirit and doubling their cheer:
1. Keep communication channels active
The first move to flawless support is to ensure that you have all your bases covered. From social media to telephone lines and everything in between, make sure that all your communication channels are accessible and equipped to deal with the holiday rush.
2. Update for holiday season
Sometimes, rush-time issues are repetitive. Delayed shipping, mistaken cancellations, double orders, and lengthy response times are common hiccups. Using historical data, create an FAQ for some common troubleshooting problems during the holidays for customers to access. If there is a deviation from your usual delivery or support policies, make sure you update this on your website and social media platforms, so that you set realistic expectations for your customers. Additionally, also create a special holiday rush season support document for staff to access, to make their responses quicker and accurate.
3. Put tech to good use
Chatbots are like your personal elves during holidays. They can do some of the heavy-lifting when your staff is swamped with other work. According to Acquire, a bot that is well-programmed can settle up to 20% of queries effectively, answering routine and repetitive queries.
Tweak your bots to reflect the festive cheer and questions so that responses are more personal as well as effective. Live chats, interactive voice responses and video responses created specifically for this time can also help tackle the heavy seasonal support requirements.
4. Outsource support
Peak season will necessitate all hands on-board. Sometimes, existing support may be insufficient to deal with the rush. If you leave a troubled customer on hold for long, you may lose them forever. Instead, pad up your support team with temporary hires or outsourced support services. Historical data can help you estimate the query inflow and nature, which you can then share with an outsourced customer service agency.
Given that customers will have plenty of alternatives during the holidays, it is imperative that businesses do all in their power to retain customers. Preparation, organization, and seamless integration of support staff with technology can help create a process that will make the holiday season a smooth sail for customers, businesses and employees alike.