Peak or holiday seasons like Christmas or New Year, are most important seasons for e-retailers from sales and revenue point of view. During these periods, e-retailers plan to earn big money and attract new customers by offering good discounts and schemes. On the other hand, even customers sail high on expectations’.
It all sounds great until you find yourself inundated with customer support emails, non-stop phone calls, live chat messages that can be exciting for you as it means more customers but can be very stressful for your customer support staff. Long working hours and handling innumerable customers’ queries take a toll on employees’ health. On the other hand, inadequate responses accompanied by long waiting time infuriate customers to a great extent. So, during peak holiday seasons, businesses face dual challenges of satisfying customers and keeping employees motivated
Thus, it is vital for business to take pro-active actions for maintaining festive spirit of the customers and offering them great customer experiences. Below are the few ways that enable e-businesses to improve their customer services during peak season.
Prepare Concrete Plan Beforehand – As the adage says “Better safe than sorry”, it is always better to prepare an action plan prior 2-3 months of festive or holiday season. In order to create full-proof plan, collect facts like current workflow rate and expected rate in peak season, understanding expectations of customers, reasons of customers’ dissatisfaction, whether to hire temporary staffing solutions or not. All the important details are easy to extract from the last year’s data. Plan ahead and make it understand to each and every employee of company so that everybody remains on the same page when peak season starts.
Empower Team by Providing Training – Customers do not appreciate if they need to wait a lot for getting their calls answered. Moreover, if customer support staff is unable to solve the query and passes the call to seniors, customers definitely feel disappointed. So first of all, it is crucial to train your employees thoroughly. Provide them crystal clear understanding about your products and services. Conduct regular knowledge transfer sessions and role plays to lower call turnaround times. Suggest ways about how to handle customers’ queries quickly yet efficiently. Invest in building an easy to use and search product knowledge base with detailed FAQs, step by step instructions, and troubleshooting guidelines, manuals and pictures. Of course, it is a daunting task to please every customer during peak season, but little effort in the right direction will definitely go a long way.
Staff up for holiday season – Whether you decide to hire temporary staff or decide to get on a board a customer service outsourcing company for holiday season staffing, you do need to prepare well in advance for additional holiday staffing. Outsourcing to an experienced BPO company does have a lot more benefit than hiring temporary staff directly in-house. Such companies usually offer seasonal staffing solutions and have required tools and hands-on experience of handling high customers’ traffic during holiday season and their customer support agents are ready to hit the ground running. The last thing you want to do is deal with hiring, training, managing and retaining in house temporary staff during your busy season. The smarter choice is to take advantage of temporary staffing solutions from an expert call center provider, be it an offshore call center or onshore.
Motivate Employees to Motivate Customers – Employees with happy state of mind are more productive and offer adequate solutions to customers’ queries. When businesses expect something extra from employees, it is equally important to offer them extra – in the form of incentives, recognitions or cash rewards. Allow them to take frequent breaks, praise them for their achievements, roll-out extra hours’ incentive scheme, etc. After all, holiday season is for everybody- be it customers or employees. If employees are working hard to build and retain your brand reputation, business should not also stay behind to show their fondness towards them.
Personalize your Response –Businesses do follow offering customized services to customers in ordinary days, but due to peak season’s rush, they often forgo it. Customers always expect special treatment from the service providers and seldom pay heed to peak or off season. So, do not forget to add a touch of personalization and treat them like a “VIP or KING” during holiday season as well. Send personalized email addressing them by their names and messages like “ Dear ABC, you have not purchase anything from us in the last 3 weeks”, “ ABC, we are really missing you at XYZ”, etc.
Learn Lessons from Customers’ Feedback – Always remember, it may happen that happy customers do not applaud you but dissatisfied customers tend to complain. Therefore, spare some time from your busy schedule to understand what are customers’ trends and expectations during holiday season. Take a look at their feedback forms filled by them during last year peak season and try to fix all loopholes this time. Indubitably, customers’ feedback encompasses scores of ideas for businesses improve their customer services and increase customers’ satisfaction level.
To conclude, holiday or peak season is the best time to offer unique shopping experience to your valuable customers. Thus, avoid following “one size fits all” approach. Gear up yourself to provide such level of customer service which actually sets a benchmark for others to follow. Share your thoughts about strategies followed by you for handling customers’ queries during peak time.