7 Tips for Great Vacation Customer Service in Retail Customer service

Here are seven tips for great customer support and vacation experiences.

This is the most wonderful time of the year – for retail in particular. Lucrative, yet chaotic, the holiday season calls for even better customer support than usual.

This is due to the expected increase in sales volume and a heightened sense of urgency – customers want to resolve any issues with their purchases well in advance of the New Years Eve party. Nothing better to keep you on your toes. guards as a business.

So, to help you prepare, we’re sharing seven tips for top-quality customer support and vacation experiences:

1. Prepare for omnichannel support

You’ve probably already planned for the holiday season: for example, how many seasonal workers you need to hire, how much stock you need to order, etc. But do you have a plan to support buyers?

And we’re not just talking in-store, we’re talking online too. People will still flock to physical stores to shop, but after the pandemic many have become digital savvy as well. This means they are likely to mix in-store and digital purchases and require support on more channels than you might think.

This can only mean one thing: you must switch to omnichannel (if you haven’t already). Social media interactions, live chat conversations, in-store shopping and more should all blend into the same customer profile, so that you can provide more useful support.

For example, imagine a customer buys something from your store and then sends you an email complaining that the item is broken. By having a omnichannel support platform In place, your team has instant access to important information, such as whether the customer has purchased the item with their loyalty card, or whether they have purchased a similar item in the past. This will help you have more contextual, personalized conversations – and faster resolutions.

2. Set up a chatbot (or two)

The number of customer service calls increases exponentially during the holiday season. And the majority of these requests are pretty straightforward, meaning they don’t need to be answered by a human.

Chatbots are “on” 24/7 and can answer routine questions in seconds. Unlike humans, they can also support multiple people at the same time. They can even proactively appear to ask questions of website visitors, using triggers (for example, when a customer keeps looking at the same product for a while).

And a simple chatbot can actually be easy to implement, even when you want to prepare quickly for the coming season. You can simply train your chatbot to answer frequently asked questions or integrate it with your help center so it can find answers automatically. Even if you have a chatbot that is active all year round, now is a great time to retrain it with new questions that have been raised in the past months.

3. Offer live chat support

Live chat support is quickly becoming the bare minimum for retail and e-commerce platforms. A lot of people will have urgent and complex requests that chatbots can’t resolve, but at the same time, they may not feel like waiting on the phone for someone to answer, while listening to some old-fashioned Christmas carols.

So the live chat will make sure you don’t leave customers hanging when they have a question – and you can also help them complete the checkout process, find the products they want, or ask important questions. .

4. Provide self-service options

Today, most people will find the answer to their question on their own before contacting your business. And they do you a favor in that regard: imagine if your team had to solve every question or vacation request, no matter how simple.

So have self-service options is a win-win. If you don’t have an FAQ page yet, create one as soon as possible. If you already have one, take a look at your analytics data: Are there any keywords or questions that customers have entered that you haven’t answered yet in your Help Center?

Fortunately, knowledge base software is generally easy to implement. You can customize it to your business colors and design, quickly add and edit articles and FAQs, and more. If you also have a shopping app, it’s easy to add access to an FAQ that people can browse even in the store.

5. Use the power of social media

Keeping track of what’s happening on your social media in the midst of this wave of activity can seem overwhelming and that’s why a large portion of retail businesses tend to overlook this aspect completely when facing the rush. holiday shoppers.

However, this is exactly the time to stay vigilant on social media, as a lot of customers maybe leave comments or by writing articles, both positive and negative, about their shopping experience with you.

Make sure you have a team that monitors comments appearing on social media platforms and also addresses any issues or concerns that a buyer or potential buyer may have expressed.

Social media can also be a great way to provide proactive self-service. For example, you can create a list of popular holiday questions and answers (maybe in an infographic format) and send them through Messenger, Viber, or other messaging apps with a festive design. Think about ideas like this for engaging customers.

6. Train and empower your customer support team

Customers appreciate friendly support agents. But more than that, they appreciate a process that allows support teams to perform at their best. An agent overwhelmed with requests may not seem as engaging as they could be. A customer who has waited a long time on the phone may have much less patience.

So, think about workflows first: are we efficient in the way we route customer requests? Chatbots, for example, can sort requests and collect data before a human agent needs to be involved. If you have customer experience software, you can automatically send types of requests to the right people to minimize back-and-forth. Tech trends can help you automate some parts of the process (eg cashierless payment) and simplify other parts for your employees.

And of course, the holiday season is a great time to think about people. Do you have enough staff or is it possible that your team is overwhelmed and exhausted? Is there anything you can do to boost morale, like extra pay, perks, or whatever? Make sure your team knows you value them.

7. Start better conversations

Communicating well with customers shouldn’t just happen during the holidays. But with all the joyous spirit, you can be inspired to rethink the way you interact with your customers. From the simplest communications, like emails announcing the holiday sales, to more personalized messages, like recommendations based on past purchases, your engagement strategy can leave a lasting impression.

When it comes to support, you need to be proactive. Tell people when your offices are closed, either with a banner on your website, or by sending an email to subscribers. Ask your chatbot to provide links to your return policies or simply place the link prominently. Communicate any delays or issues before the customer realizes something is wrong (for example, you can automatically send text messages when shipping is delayed).

All of these initiatives can help make your conversations with your customers more productive and enjoyable.

Stay on top of your support game

Holidays provide an opportunity to attract customers and increase sales, but it’s also a defining moment for customers. If you don’t care for them properly during the holidays, they’ll likely remember them even after the holiday season is over.

That’s why you need to approach customer service thoughtfully and make sure you take care of your customers year round. look carefully common e-commerce challenges and create a plan to improve your customer service (a great New Years resolution).

Stay safe and happy holidays!

Joseph P. Harris