Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and now…Eve of the Christmas season? With various businesses normally racking up their service offers this time of the year which leads to a frenzy of free shipping deals, crazy promotions and huge sales numbers. Today’s customers have unreasonably high service expectations – even more so during the holiday rush. The last thing you want is to let the quality of your customer service slip during the most important time of the year. In order to shine amidst the clutter of promotions, thus maximizing your holiday efforts, you’ll need to provide superior customer service to the delight of your clients.
Below are the following ways you can attain that for your business.
1. Plan ahead
You should consider planning at least three months before peak periods. This time is needed to determine personnel needs, training, and if necessary, schedule longer shifts for existing employees. Planning ahead and setting goals is essential – especially for fast-growing companies that have experienced rapid customer growth in the previous months. The best-in-class companies don’t deviate too far from their goals no matter the volume or time of year it is. They plan ahead to reach their critical targets – in quality and efficiency – even when volumes are high. That’s what sets them apart from their competition.
2. Divide and conquer – triaging customer interactions
One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the holidays is not providing a process for your team to efficiently and effectively handle all business cases. Unfortunately, these flurry of cases growing by the hour often tend to slow any business down. An effective process that keeps your team productive is “triaging” – a strategy that gives all cases quick, instant attention.
Triaging cases as they come in allows you divide and conquer your case load by having the right cases, assigned to the right teams, right away. By gauging the urgency of a case and correctly categorizing it by the type of help the customer needs, you’re ensuring the right team member is handling the customer’s question. This prevents you from wasting time digging through cases looking for the ones that most require your attention.
3. Get adhoc support to execute diverse tasks
We’ve all been in that situation when a holiday order somehow goes terribly wrong. It might have been lost in transit or arrived three sizes too small. In which case, having a problem resolved in the shortest amount of time in a friendly and personalized fashion has the greatest impact on a customer’s holiday experience.
In order to deliver amazing customer service in the shortest amount of time during the holidays, you should consider empowering others to solve customer problems at all costs. By giving others the trust and confidence to make their own judgment, they will be able to deliver a fast, personalized customer experience without having to jump through any hoops. A team of adhoc support that delivers a fun and fast customer experience has the potential to be a huge competitive advantage during the holidays. Here are the facts to consider in seeking excellent support from adhoc staff:
- Hire the right people.
- Invest in training.
- Give your support team the right information so they can give a personalized experience and make the correct calls.
- Arm your adhoc team with relevant and accurate contents.
4. Focus on fast resolution times
There is no question that speed is often the deciding factor between a good and bad customer service experience. We have all worn the customer’s shoes where we have ordered an item or service only to find it is the wrong order or has been lost in the mail. In which case, we want our problem resolved as quickly as possible.
Many customer service managers will advise that the biggest efficiency metric to focus on is an immediate first response time. Setting goals to reach a customer as soon as possible is a great way to make them happy because it assures them that support is reachable. However, you must ensure your team is able to pick up the phone within two rings or average an hour response time via email. But, if they require multiple contacts over a period of 2-3 days to solving each case, then your team might not be as effective as you thought.
5. Activate whole company support
Rather than spending time and money on seasonal workers, you could as well consider activating whole company support – or cross-training employees – for the busy holiday season. Whole company support provides more personnel that require little training as well as allows your system to be more resilient to the stress that will undoubtedly be experienced during the peak season.
First, you should equip all of your staff to answer basic questions customers may have. This strategy definitely comes in handy and useful on busy days like Black Friday and the day after Christmas when all hands need to be on deck. With basic training and some guidance, you can stack your team with more personnel and make sure each customer receives a fast and personal response.
The best part is, the benefits of whole company support goes beyond helping your business deal with the holiday rush alone as there is usually a/an:
1. Focus on all departments. From product to sales to marketing – by interacting with the customer directly, all employees are able to obtain insight on the specific needs, wants, desires, and problems that your customers may have. As a result, the business actions your employees take day to day have positive repercussions to the company overall.
2. Ease on the workload of the main support team. Whether seasonal or not. While your support team is your fully-functional arsenal around everything that a customer might ask, sometimes the answer is simple, and anyone at your company can answer it. This is particularly helpful during the holidays. Get your whole company involved in support, and knock those straight forward questions out of the way so your main support team can tackle the nitty-gritty.