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The holiday season is a great reminder of what we all value in each other, and many of us are already looking forward to quality time spent with friends and family. But gift-giving season also comes with its headaches, especially for brands trying to keep up with increased demand for orders and shipping delays. Even the most well-prepared companies should anticipate delivery slowdowns and seasonal spikes in returns and exchanges.
For business-to-consumer brands, the holidays offer a great opportunity for increased sales and word-of-mouth marketing buzz. But to turn those holiday shoppers into loyal, returning customers, you’ll need to be ready to provide human, personalized customer support, especially when things don’t go as expected. Here are a few of the ways your support team can help spread the holiday cheer.
Customers want to feel known
Nothing dampens the holiday spirit like being treated as just another support ticket. Your customer service experience needs to make shoppers feel known, understood, and valued, not only as customers but also as people.
One good way to start is by ensuring that your service agents are equipped with the right training—and the right tech support—to welcome and build relationships with your customers. A customer service platform that allows your agents to view a shopper’s personal information, purchasing history, and conversation history can help them welcome customers as people, rather than tickets.
Reach out to shoppers proactively
You don’t need to wait for shoppers to reach out to add a human touch to the online retail experience. A quick check-in via chat pop-up can make your customers feel cared for—and assure them that support for tough shopping decisions is ready and available when they need it.
Consider reaching out whenever a shopper pauses for a long time on the checkout page or the page for a particular product. They might be weighing their options on a gift purchase and may appreciate the help.
This is the perfect opportunity to also drop in a friendly reminder about the importance of advance purchasing, helping you get ahead of potential frustration associated with delayed shipping and supply chain issues.
Empower your agents with knowledge for upsells and exchanges
As they search for that perfect, extra-special gift, many of your shoppers may be looking for advice. One of the best ways to elevate their experience is to make sure your service agents are ready to make informed, knowledgeable recommendations.
These moments can also serve as opportunities to upsell, especially for shoppers who aren’t quite sure what they want yet. And for those who end up receiving gifts they aren’t fond of, a knowledgeable agent can make the difference between a return and an exchange.
One useful way to empower your agents is to ensure they have access to a shopper’s purchasing history during conversations, so they can offer advice based on items a customer has purchased before.
Follow up after conversations
If one of your agents helps a customer make a difficult gifting decision, encourage them to reach out later to find out how the gift was received. Follow-up messages serve as a sign that you care and value their purchases—and in cases where the gift in question didn’t go over so well, they can serve as an opportunity to offer an exchange or recommend a different product.
Meet your customers where they are with support for popular channels
With an increasing number of shoppers now buying from mobile devices, SMS and chat are quickly overtaking older channels like phone and email as many customers’ preferred way to reach your support agents. If you aren’t offering support for these channels, many consumers may just choose to take their business elsewhere.
Integrated support for chat, SMS, and social media messaging is a great way to ensure that busy holiday shoppers can reach your team quickly and easily.
Embrace channel-independent support
Today’s consumers tend to use support channels interchangeably and by convenience. That means a shopper might send an email asking about a product, then follow up with a call or chat message if they don’t hear back in a few hours.
Investing in a customer service platform that allows for a single, lifelong conversation across channels ensures that your service agents can pick up where the last interaction left off—and treat long-time customers as the welcome guests they are.
Help your customers help themselves
Don’t make your service agents do more work than they have to—especially at such a busy time of year.
Many consumers report that they prefer the chance to answer questions themselves. Implementing robust self-service options lets customers with simple questions find the answers they need on their own. It also cuts down on the workload for your customer service agents, so they can focus on helping shoppers who have more difficult questions.
To find out how Gladly’s all-in-one customer service platform can help your brand provide radically personal, deeply human support this holiday season, contact us.