Posted: 16th August 2023

Even with the festive season some time away, retailers will be planning for huge spikes in customer service demand during Black Friday and the Christmas period.

Many retailers will have established plans for the period, but do these solutions perform to expectations? Do they provide insight into your customers to help you improve their experience? Can you ensure resilience, advocacy and the protection of your brand? Or will customer dissatisfaction eat into commercial and brand performance this Christmas? Here are five areas retailers should be thinking about in the lead up to the holiday season, in order to maximise the quality of their customer interactions and relationships:

1. Flexible resource solutions

With the influx of shoppers both in-store and online during the Christmas season, retailers often find themselves stretched thin in terms of customer service resources; the people who ensure the brand is having effective conversations with customers, even in the chaotic throng of the holiday period. They often rely on temp agency support to increase capacity, as well as traditional recruitment, which comes with associated effort and cost. A customer service specialist provider that deploys brand-trained experts and a wraparound management service could be a more effective approach.

Removing internal cost associated with a temporary solution, allowing teams to focus on other, vital tasks and delivering surety of available resource are the headline benefits, however with an open and responsive partner, there are a host of other advantages to this kind of specialist support, including…

2. Multi-channel support

In today's retail landscape, customers expect to engage with brands across multiple channels, from traditional in and outbound telephony and email to social media, live chat and chat-bots for simple queries. A provider who can quickly plug in multi-channel support, ensuring that customer enquiries are addressed promptly and consistently, regardless of a customer’s preferred channel, can be a game-changing efficiency. It removes another internal logistical challenge and leaves an expert supplier to mirror your processes, i.e. doing what they do best for clients every day. An omni-channel approach enhances customer satisfaction and engagement, de-stresses the telephony channel, allows customers to access services through their preferred method and sets a strong foundation for long-term relationships.

3. Expert planning:

The holiday rush brings a unique set of capacity challenges. A partner with deep understanding of these dynamics and the ability to plan resource deployment around your specific needs can help control costs and protect margin. They can look ahead to plan capacity and ensure you have the right people in the right place at the right time. They can also cater to the peaks and troughs across the day through balancing resources across the various available channels. This ensures your contact centre is continually right-sized, and Agents only work when they are needed.

4. Upselling and cross-selling opportunities:

Beyond providing excellent customer service, the Christmas season presents a golden opportunity for retailers to boost sales through upselling and cross-selling. Having a customer service team able to deliver a unified approach to this and bring their own value via their deep experience can be an advantage. The ability to identify appropriate upselling opportunities, which are suitable for the customers’ needs, is key to ensuring this is a success. Effectively showcasing their product offerings to already-engaged customers helps retailers maximize their revenue potential while enhancing the customer's shopping experience.

5. Data-Driven Insights:

During the holiday season, customer interactions generate a wealth of valuable insights. A partner who can provide advanced analytics and reporting capabilities can deliver real-time data on customer trends, preferences, and pain points. This empowers retailers to make agile adjustments to their strategies, ensuring that the holiday shopping experience remains optimised.

The Christmas period is an exciting and challenging time for retailers as they aim to deliver exceptional customer service while managing surges in demand. In order to maximise returns, retailers should think outside the box now and consider a partnership which offers the service elements above, helping them and their customers to navigate the festive season with confidence. By seamlessly handling customer queries and enhancing the shopping experience, retailers contribute to creating lasting memories and building customer loyalty at the most wonderful time of year.

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Huntswood - Insight