Bright lights, festoons and a special window display—that's enough preparation for the holiday season... Or is it? From Black Friday chaos to Christmas Eve panic, the holiday season is the most trying time of the year. Here are seven pearls of wisdom to help you give your customers a fantastic shopping experience:
1. Stock up in advance - Surplus isn't so bad! Stockpile and guarantee you won't run out of this season's most popular toy.
2. Find what makes your business tick - Figure out which metrics will help you bring out the best in your team's service, especially when ticket traffic is rising. The metrics you decide on will define the goals you set for the season, say, low resolution times, shorter conversation threads or happiness ratings. Keep your agents in the loop and chart out a roadmap to get there.
3. Patience is paramount - When tensions run high, composed agents armed with smiles and answers can reassure even the most stressed customers. Encourage your agents to relax between taking calls and replying to emails. Happy agents equals happy customers!
4. Cross-train for timely reinforcements - Give all your employees a crash course in customer service, even the ones who usually never work the floor. You never know when you'll need to pull someone from the stockroom and place them on the service desk.
5. Automate the little things - Have workflows in place for repetitive tasks. When the clock is ticking and the margin of error grows smaller, even everyday tasks can become a liability. Do away with monotony and eliminate errors as you focus on what's important.
6. Stay sharp on social media - Unhappy customers vent on social media. Approximately count on social media when making a purchase decision, and who complain about a product on Facebook or Twitter expect a response in one hour. Monitor your social media mentions, and address problems in real time.
7. Self service is the best service - Keep that Knowledge Base polished and your consumer forums buzzing. With 73% of customers preferring to solve issues on their own, empower your customers with a good self-service setup. Now, watch your incoming ticket loads drop and customer happiness peak. Two birds with one stone.
8. Knit your teams closer together - The teams that keep the cogs turning need to blend with each other to keep things smooth. From logistics to sales, and tailor them into a well organized working unit.
9. It's your turn to play Santa - Once the dust settles, it's time to reward your employees with special bonuses and perks to thank them for their excellence. After all, your employees certainly proved their worth during the Christmas rush.
10. Business Hours, round the clock - Braving the cold weather, pondering over presents, scurrying through stores... Christmas shopping can be pretty enervating. In such a situation, the last thing that customers want to see is a Closed sign on the front door. Have enough agents to cover for shifts through the day and extend your service longer than the usual working hours. That way, customers with a day job can shop, reach out to you and breathe a little easier. It'll give your employees a break to get their shopping done as well. After all, service agents are customers too!
11. Solicit feedback to map out next year - Distribute surveys to get valuable insights. Understand your customers' feelings and needs. Adapt your service structure for the following year.
Give your customers something to cheer about this holiday season. When it comes down to it, a well rounded customer experience doesn't end with your products. Meticulous customer service completes the package.