Meeting CX Demand During The Holiday Shopping Season in the contact centre – Martin Taylor, Co-Founder and Deputy CEO of Content Guru discusses.
Black Friday is almost here, signalling the start of the holiday shopping season. Set against a backdrop of economic stagnation and the cost of living crisis, this year’s holiday season is expected to see a lower-than-usual total spend, with almost half of shoppers planning on splashing out less than last year. Retailers face an unprecedented challenge of maintaining consumer satisfaction at every stage of the customer journey to maximise potential profits.
Despite the predicted slowdown, the potential for retailers is huge. Forecasts for 2023 suggest that UK retail sales during the Christmas period could amount to almost £85 billion, with around £3 billion coming exclusively from Black Friday.
Businesses that rise to the holiday shopping challenge, using the opportunity to provide a first-class customer experience (CX), will have an advantage over competitors that aren’t able to adapt and meet the consumer on their own terms, whenever and however they want to engage. How can businesses achieve seamless CX that will leave the customer happy that they got a good bargain, and had a great experience?
Here are three areas in which retailers should focus their efforts if they are to be successful:
Ensure CX is Highly Available
Customers expect instant contact at any time of year, and the holiday season is no exception. Amidst the shopping frenzy, there are many reasons why consumers need to get in contact regarding their orders; including to make changes, request returns, track down missing items, or even to complain. Being available when a customer wants to get in touch increases your chances of achieving First Contact Resolution (FCR) and ensuring maximum customer satisfaction.
97% of consumers and 98% of contact centre managers say customer service interactions impact whether consumers stay loyal to a brand. Maintaining great CX during the Black Friday surge could mean the difference between a brand convert and a customer choosing a competitor. The key to meeting a high volume of interactions is ensuring seamless scalability. If brands are unable to scale to meet demand, its likely consumers will be left frustrated as they fail to have their query resolved in a timely fashion.
Provide Support Through Social, Digital, and Traditional Channels
When it comes to holiday shopping CX, every customer is different. The way they choose to communicate with your brand will also vary according to the nature of their query, or preferred channel for the situation, so having omnichannel capabilities is key. Holiday CX strategies that allow customers to communicate through traditional methods, such as voice or email, while also incorporating the ability to act through chat, social and other digital platforms, make it easier for consumers to obtain fast resolution on their own terms. Channel choices should include the most popular sites for engaging with customers online, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Increasingly, the channel with the biggest growth over the holiday season is SMS, with a 34% increase in messages sent over Black Friday weekend alone.
With omnichannel capabilities, businesses are able to provide customers with proactive updates on their preferred channel and also support customers to move between channels when this will speed their journey. For example, if phone lines are busy, customers can be directed to available digital channels to still ensure they get the answers they need.
Turn Customer Knowledge Into Power
Brands that are able to effectively personalize interactions improve customer loyalty 1.5x more effectively than those offering subpar personalization. Knowing who is contacting you enables delivery of personalised greetings, helpful recommendations, and instantly identifying if a customer has contacted you about a similar problem before. A data focused interaction can be the difference between an average encounter and a comforting, memorable experience during the holiday season which turns a customer from a bargain hunter into a loyal customer for life.
Staying ahead starts with identifying your customer during or even before each interaction, no matter which channel they choose to contact you through. Unlike traditional CRM systems, todays Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) allow brands to create 360-degree customer profiles that encompass an individuals’ previous interaction history, behaviour and interests; empowering businesses to deliver precisely what customers want.
Winning on More than Price
Although holiday shopping and discount events, such as Black Friday, are famous for being extremely competitive when it comes to price, customer experience shouldn’t be forgotten. Whether consumers are using your brand for the first time or are established and loyal customers, their experience is a key factor in determining whether they come back next time, or jump ship to a competitor. To ‘win’ this holiday season, businesses must focus on being highly accessible and providing the meaningful experiences that consumers seek.
Brands that utilise cloud contact centres will be much better equipped to overcome the challenges associated with high volume and also offer a wide variety of engagement channels, all whilst ensuring the customer gets a hyper-personalised experience. Combining behavioural and product information that puts the customer first and allows them to resolve issues quickly and effectively will ultimately ensure brands not only survive this holiday season but also boost customer loyalty in the process.
Martin Taylor is Co-Founder and Deputy CEO of Content Guru.
Content Guru helps organisations achieve outstanding customer experience.
Its cloud-based solution, storm®, ensures that customers’ requests and issues are quickly and accurately resolved – simply put, engagement made easy. storm is used by over 1000 enterprise-scale public and private organizations in over 50 countries, and is trusted by leading global brands, such as AXA, Interflora and Rakuten Communications, for mission-critical communications.
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