Take a look around. Have the boxes of decorations made their way out of storage? The ads taken on a very specific, common theme? And will Mariah Carey soon dominate the radio?
All of this can only mean one thing. Yes, your in-laws may soon be coming over, but that’s only because the holiday season is upon us.
The importance of this time of the year is well documented, with some reports indicating it can account for up to 40% of a retailer’s annual sales. While a single purchase is fine, the goal should be to turn those one-off buyers into loyal, repeat customers. But how do you get there? Ensuring every shopper has an outstanding experience when they interact with your brand is a great start.
To deliver exceptional customer service, you need to offer four elements. It needs to be efficient, personal, seamless, and proactive. This can seem like quite the task, especially during the holiday rush. The good news is intelligent automation can help you achieve all four without the need to hire additional agents or have your existing ones running for the door.
As we dive deeper into each category, we’ll explore how the right automation tools will not only set you up for success this holiday season but offer a scalable foundation for the entire year. One that delights your customers and keeps them coming back.
To deliver efficient customer service, the interaction needs to incorporate two equally-important facets. First, you need to be able to quickly answer customer questions. A majority of this should be done via automation. Industry-leading automation tools allow you to automate over 60% of all incoming questions, delivering instant answers to common and not-so-common requests.
Next, when an automated response is not possible, the right technology can connect shoppers to the appropriate agent, department, or product expert the first time while also supplying the receiving party with all relevant customer information. Now, agents have everything they need to provide timely resolutions for whatever questions might come their way.
When the two are properly combined, businesses can offer a 24/7 customer support solution that actually frees up agents to focus on making meaningful connections rather than creating an endless ticket backlog.
No customer wants to be just another ticket number. When they reach out, they want the feeling that their request is just as important to you as it is to them. Long wait times or generic responses to call a hotline aren’t going to get the job done, and consistently hiring additional agents isn’t sustainable.
We’ve already covered how automation can deliver instant responses, but the right software can take it one step further. Today’s automation should allow you to immediately communicate with your customers in their preferred language and on their favorite channel—regardless if that’s email, your website, phone, or even social media.
Take European footwear leader Giesswein for example. They operate in 17 different markets, stretching across a variety of time zones, and covering 13 different languages. They rely on automation to deliver 24/7 customer support no matter who reaches out, when, or on what channel. This has allowed them to maintain their brand voice and personal touch as they continue to expand into new markets—without needing additional agents.
It’s understandable why customers become frustrated if they feel they are repeating themselves every time they are redirected to a different member of the organization. With a unified, omnichannel approach, you can make this interaction feel like one continuous conversation, no matter how many people are involved.
Let’s start at the beginning. Automation can first collect prevalent data points, including who the person is, what they need help with, and if applicable, all relevant order information. From there, if an automated response is not possible, a previously created workflow should instantly escalate the customer to the right individual—while also forwarding along all preceding interactions. Now, no matter how they originally reached out, your team can pick up where the automation left off.
4. Offer proactive support
The final element comes in identifying when a customer is struggling and then proactively reaching out to offer support. Proactive support is when the company begins the interaction, not the customer. There are two ways you can use this to your advantage this holiday season.
To start, proactive support can be used to address any supply chain or logistical issues. If a popular product is on backorder or if shipping has been delayed, you can let people know: thus saving them from having to file a ticket.
The other way you can utilize proactive support is by leveraging it to drive sales. Leading customer support automation software can detect shoppers already on your site, who are most likely to make a purchase. It can then proactively reach out with a personalized product recommendation—down to their size or even favorite color—based on site behavior and/or past purchasing decisions. So, if something is on backorder, don’t just let your shoppers know. Instead, advance the conversation by offering them a suitable replacement.
If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between proactive and reactive customer support, along with how to create a comprehensive plan that uses both, check out our article on Proactive vs Reactive Customer Service.
The holiday season can be stressful, but with the right automation tools you can set your business up for sustained success.
Zowie is the only customer service automation platform built to help ecommerce brands delight customers and turn support into sales—at any time of year.
To see its transformative power at work, book a demo today.