The holiday season brings both dread and good cheer for businesses. One of the biggest mistakes any company can make, big or small, is to take the shopping rush lightly. By now, every business owner should already be aware of the challenge that this season brings.
As the holidays are almost upon us, there’s barely enough time left to bolster your services and prepare for the incoming rush of orders and last-minute purchases. No matter what kind of business you run, it’s crucial to have solid and reliable customer support during this season.
There will be stiff competition from other merchants vying for the same business opportunity that the holidays bring. For brick-and-mortar stores, it is especially challenging to match online prices and respond quickly to online customers.
That’s why holiday shopping is much more profitable for online retailers. However, through customer support, everyone should be on an equal playing ground.
Here are some essential customer support tips to help you handle the holiday rush:
1. Plan Ahead
Business owners should already be prepared for the holiday rush. If you’re an online business, specifically, you should already have an idea of how many orders you’re expecting to receive. The holiday season is the busiest time of the year. Make sure you’re prepared with staff and resources to handle the incoming rush.
Another thing you should do is to determine how much inventory you need to have on hand to meet the demand. You might also want to consider an inventory management system to help you keep your inventory under control.
A reliable system can help you monitor your inventory levels in real-time. With a system in place, you can quickly figure out if an item is in stock or not and avoid costly mistakes.
2. Fix Scheduling
The holidays are a time when everyone rushes to meet their shopping needs. Your goal is to make the entire process as painless as possible for your customers. This includes ensuring that your sales and customer service reps are well-rested, energized, and ready to help your customers.
Make sure that your sales reps know how much time off they need to take. If you’re working on a small business, you might want to make the whole season a completely paid vacation.
Employees are your greatest resource. However, adding them to the holiday schedule can be somewhat tricky. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year for the hospitality industry, retail, construction, and manufacturing.
This means that the biggest challenge this season is employee scheduling. While the holidays are an exciting time of the year, they can also be stressful for your employees.
That’s why you should already be prepared to accommodate their needs. To prevent any scheduling conflicts and conflicts with holidays, you should already know which is available during the busiest time of the year.
3. Consider Automation
When the holiday season is just around the corner, you have to find a way to allocate more resources. To ensure that your business can easily handle the seasonal rush, you have to take advantage of automation.
A reliable customer support system can help you create a dynamic workforce with the skills and experience to manage customer queries from different channels.
Chatbots, for example, have the potential to automate several customer support needs. They can be used for FAQs, customer self-service, and live chat. Also, many CRM tools already include automated messaging features that can be used during the busiest time of the year.
4. Have Live Chat Support
Live chat support is a great way to handle customer service during the holiday season. It’s an effective way to respond to customer queries quickly and to provide accurate information. However, the holidays will be the busiest time of the year, and you’re inevitably going to get swamped with customer service queries.
Business owners should have multiple live chat agents to respond to customer queries and concerns to keep up with the incoming rush. You can assign different agents to different time zones to make sure the business can handle a 24-hour availability for customers.
5. Set Expectations Early On
There is going to be a lot of pressure on your business and your employees. Holiday shoppers will be much more demanding than usual. So, it’s essential to set the right expectations. Let your customers know the kind of service you’re going to provide during the holidays.
If you want to offer a fantastic experience, you need to be in the right state of mind. According to an IBM study, the holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year for retail workers. In a recent article, IBM also shared that 69 percent of workers feel their stress level increases during the holidays.
So, as the holiday stress continues to build, remember that it’s your responsibility to provide the best service possible to your customers. It doesn’t matter if you’re a retail, eCommerce, or manufacturing business. You still need to provide the best customer service during the busiest time of the year.
6. Update Your Content
Holiday shopping is not only about sales. There are several reasons why people go shopping during this season. The studies show that many shoppers also want to feel like they’re receiving valuable content and offers as they browse through a site. This is especially true if they’re searching for gifts for friends and family.
So, during this season, it’s crucial to create an experience that engages customers. You should focus on creating quality content and offers for your audience. This holiday season, you should use strategies that are relevant to your brand and your target audience.
If you’re writing blog posts and articles, make sure that your content is easy to understand and access. If you’re sending out email offers, make sure that your content is relevant to your audience. Holiday shoppers are not just looking for a cheap deal, after all. In the long run, your content will also help lighten the load off your customer support and make their job a little easier.
7. Have a Backup Plan
While your primary focus is to provide your customers with the answers they need, you have to have a backup plan. If your business is going to be swamped with too much traffic, you have to have an emergency plan in place.
The holiday shopping rush is a busy time of the year for online retailers. However, it doesn’t have to be such a challenge for your business. With a good customer support system, you can easily manage your queries and provide the best service possible to your customers.
The Bottom Line
Customer support is a significant part of your company’s backbone on any given day. But during the holidays, the importance of their roles increases by tenfold. The holidays are just around the corner, which means business owners will receive more calls than usual.
Good customer support is your last line of defense against unhappy customers. This season is a busy and stressful time for everyone. However, with the help of a strong customer support system, you can easily handle the holiday rush.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your client experience, start with your service. With hundreds or even thousands of customers, you need a reliable team. CrewBloom is ready and equipped to provide expert and dependable sales representatives to ensure your brand is represented in the best way possible. We guarantee that our team of professionals works hard, smart, and fast!