The holiday season is one of the most lucrative times for many brands. It provides an opportunity to increase sales, strengthen customer relationships and deliver a better customer experience at a time when community spirit is high. However, for some brands, the holiday season can also be a time of confusion and chaos.
At its best, the holidays lead to an increase in demand for customer service and support across a range of industries. In recent years, as customers have struggled with confusing new challenges, this increase is greater than ever. In 2020, 68% of companies reported that their customer service requests increase during the holidays.
Even as the world returns to balance in 2022, it’s quite possible that businesses will still need to take additional steps if they want to ensure they can continue to provide proactive, reliable, and better customer support during the holidays. Here are some quick tips to get you on the right track and deliver better customer support.
1. Unlock the Power of the FAQ
In a world where countless companies use IVRs and chatbots to handle customer inquiries before they get to a human customer service representative, a FAQ may seem a bit outdated.
But in reality, this page is often the first place your audience visits when looking for answers to common questions. Before you start working on smarter self-service solutions, it might be worth creating a FAQ page.
Talk to your customer service team about the most common questions they hear this time of year. They may have questions about service outages, hours of operation, or even what kind of service they can expect on holidays.
Answering these questions quickly and effectively at FAQ takes the pressure off your customer service team and allows customers to conveniently help themselves without having to open a chat box or contact your customer service department.
2. Invest in Automated Assistance
During the holiday season, not all employees are likely to be available at all times, which means you’ll likely have longer wait times and trouble meeting demand. One way to ensure that the relationship you’ve built with your audience isn’t damaged is to invest in automated support.
Building on FAQ, look for ways to help your customers serve themselves by using smarter technology. A chatbot is a good first step, as it allows you to answer your customers’ questions 24/7 with relatively high reliability.
However, for slightly more complex conversations, you may need to dig a little deeper. Smart assistants with natural language processing technology can answer calls in front of your agents, filter out common questions, and then intelligently route your customers to the human agent best suited to their needs based on what they’re asking.
3. Empower Your Customers
While there will always be times when your customers need the help of human representatives and empathetic professionals, many consumers are becoming more comfortable with the idea of solving problems themselves. 73% of customers say they prefer to use a company’s website to seek assistance before doing anything else.
So look for ways to proactively help your customers solve more problems themselves. For example, you could embed a chatbot on the checkout page of your website that can answer common questions about payments and billing cycles.
If your customers need to be able to find the root cause of their problem as quickly as possible, consider setting up customer portals for your tools that allow your customers to access automated diagnostics and troubleshooting features. These tools can help your customers find the root cause of the problem so they can resolve it themselves.
Even if your customer does not find an immediate solution with an automated diagnostic tool, they will have more valuable and contextual information to share with their customer service representative when they reach out to a member of your support team. This can lead to faster problem resolution.
4. Invest in BPO Solutions
Business process outsourcing solutions that focus on customer service and customer experience are becoming increasingly popular. Especially in recent years, as contact center revenues continued to grow and CX tasks became more complex, companies sought assistance from external providers.
With the right BPO company, you can access more of the expertise you need to provide consistent service, even during the holiday season. By having access to additional staff during the holiday season, you can ensure that your customer service strategy doesn’t falter just because some of your team members aren’t available.
A BPO solution can support your internal team and provide additional help when demand skyrockets. Plus, with these services, you can expand or reduce your service and support as needed at any time. You can even use your BPO services to provide additional support to a wider range of channels.
Outsourcing could be the ultimate way to preserve your company’s reputation and avoid losing important customer relationships during the holidays.
5. Be Proactive and Transparent
More than ever, customers expect transparency and honesty from the companies they do business with. Your customers want to know that you’ll be honest with them when they buy from you, so a proactive and transparent approach to service is always best.
Make sure your customers are notified well in advance of any changes to customer service hours during the holiday season. You should also make sure they know what to do if they’re faced with an emergency that can’t wait until business hours resume.
In your live chat app, messenger, and IVR system, you can also update your message to let your users know how long they’ll have to wait for a response from a team member. A dynamic system that automatically tracks the average wait time for each customer gives them a better idea of what to expect.
If you really want to increase customer satisfaction, you can also give your customers the option to get a call back instead of waiting.
6. Get Routing Right
When things need to move quickly during the holiday season, the last thing your customers want is to be passed from one employee of your company to another. In today’s age of intelligent auto-routing, there’s no excuse for teams to route calls to countless different employees.
Your customer doesn’t want to have to keep repeating themselves. So use an AI system to instantly figure out what the call or message is about, and then route the call to the employee with the best skills for the job. When you route a call or conversation to an agent, make sure you also have an automated workflow in place to provide the agent with contextual information about the call.
The more information your agent has about each caller as soon as they pick up the phone, the easier it’ll be for them to provide a personalized and relevant experience.
Master Your Holiday Customer Support Strategy
It doesn’t have to be a nightmare to keep track of your funding strategy during the holidays. Rather, this time of year is a great opportunity for any business to attract customers, make new sales, and build stronger brand relationships. However, with additional opportunities come additional requirements.
Follow the steps above to ensure you’re prepared for whatever comes your way this holiday season, and contact Bulb Tech for the perfect strategy to automate and improve customer support.