Working in customer service during Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) isn’t for the faint of heart.
The numbers behind 2023’s biggest shopping week show just how overwhelming the rush of support traffic can be.
In 2023, over 200M Americans went shopping in person and online during the 5-day BFCM shopping spree — an all-time high. Naturally, an uptick in visitors translates to more support tickets — contact centers often see year-over-year growth north of 20%. So, it’s clear to see why the pressure is on service professionals during this peak season.
BFCM sales figures are also telling. After a slight downturn in 2021, BFCM sales have rocketed in the past 2 years, growing 7.6% year-over-year in 2023.
With 2024’s figures expected to be more impressive, customer service leaders need to act now if they wish to be prepared for the spikes to come.
And teams who have Zowie’s AI-powered automation platform by their side know exactly how valuable this preparation can be. During BFCM, Zowie helped our customers not just maintain output but drive sales and cut resolution times by 50%.
Here’s how we were able to achieve such remarkable results.
Note: While individual businesses may start and end their BFCM periods on slightly different days, our data comes from over 500,000 chat and email conversations our ecommerce customers had with shoppers between Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2023 (11/24 – 11/27) compared to the previous week (11/17 – 11/20).
BFCM 2023 support traffic
Each year, Cyber Week brings businesses an increase in site traffic — and a surge in support ticket volume.
And 2023 was no different. Ecommerce businesses using Zowie saw a 36% rise in customer chats and a 27% rise in emails from the previous week.
Why? More customers are shopping online, so support teams see a corresponding rise in questions. BFCM shoppers aren’t just browsing — they want to make a purchase now and have plenty of options to choose from. This means they’re more likely to seek out whatever info they’re missing to complete a purchase.
And since live chat is the only channel that can reliably provide instant answers, it stands to reason that the increase in customer chats was higher than the increase in emails during BFCM 2023.
What were customers asking during BFCM 2023?
The top questions customers asked during BFCM 2023 revolved around discounts, promotions, and free shipping — any way shoppers could get more bang for their buck.
Again, this makes perfect sense — BFCM customers are famously price-conscious. The whole appeal of Cyber Week is the promise of great deals, so if you’re going to shop at all, you might as well try to get the best bargains possible, right?
Here are the top 5 customer issues from BFCM 2023 and how high each topic spiked from the week before:
Due to the nature of these customer queries, delivering timely responses is vital. Long wait times could easily turn into missed sales opportunities — especially if competing websites give faster replies.
Herein lies the BFCM dilemma — support teams see tickets skyrocket, and each query represents a high-priority customer who’s burning to click Buy. That’s why customer service reps can easily feel overburdened each Cyber Week.
Automation tools like Zowie take the pressure off agents’ shoulders by completely removing repetitive tickets from their plates. Zowie’s AI-powered software handles the bulk of customer service questions, enabling teams to maximize efficiency and realize their revenue-generating potential.
As the top generative AI chatbot for ecommerce, Zowie gives its customers a valuable lifeline during Cyber Week — and throughout the year. For BFCM 2023, Zowie achieved a 79% automation rate for all of our ecommerce customers. In addition, Zowie fully resolved 43% of customer chats with no agent interaction needed.
The result — slashing resolution times by 50%
Zowie helped its customers cut resolution times by 50% during BFCM 2023.
The questions shoppers ask each Cyber Week are simple and repetitive, concerning discounts, shipping, and checkout. Answers to these questions can easily be added to a business’s knowledge base — even well before BFCM — to ensure customers can find this information on their own. The Zowie Chatbot learns this knowledge base, so any time shoppers ask these common queries, the tool automatically provides them with an instant response.
And Zowie is always on and fully scalable. As customers ask more questions, Zowie offers more automated responses without getting overworked. Zowie can handle traffic spikes of any size — in any language — letting companies answer hundreds of thousands of questions at once, something that would otherwise be impossible without hiring additional agents.
And with more questions getting automated, support reps now have the bandwidth to quickly resolve high-value questions that require their expertise.
All of this adds up to consistently faster response and resolution times — and more support-driven revenue — even as site traffic grows.
Proven customer service automation for BFCM — and beyond
The numbers say it all — Zowie’s automation suite makes it easier for support teams to deliver faster, better service, even during their busiest times.
Don’t dread Cyber Week — dominate it.