Prior to 2010, us Brits shook our heads and despaired at the yearly scenes of our friends across the pond getting hostile over bargain televisions and designer goods. However, our love of online shopping and the rise of multinational retailers, quickly had us embrace this phenomenon ourselves. And so the countdown has begun to this Friday’s shopping extravaganza. Britain approximately spent £2bn in shops and online in just 24 hours last year.
Despite a few years of supermarket aisles needing police assistance, these days Black Friday is a much more civilised affair. The benefits of online shopping, such as not having to brave the weather, crowds and queues has led to more customers shopping from the comfort of their own sofa.
However, empty aisles doesn’t translate to less tension placed on the customer service department, customer contact channels or contact centre agents dealing with the busiest shopping weekend of the year. Some of the nation's biggest shopping websites struggled to cope with the volume of online interactions, with John Lewis, Argos, Boots, Tesco and Game all crashing or suffering slow loading pages last year, which might be the reasoning behind them starting sales early this year.
These retailers have proved the importance of adjusting your ‘brick and clicks’ strategy to allow consumers to browse, buy or self-serve using the most convenient channel for them, right up to the last-minute dash. They understand that customer experience can change the attitude of customers towards their favourites brands, so it’s of utmost importance to deliver the same levels of customer service during peak shopping season to that of quieter periods.
It’s unbelievable however, that some retailers are still caught off-guard, unprepared for the escalation of customer interactions during this busy period and last minute shoppers still expecting exceptional service.
Many businesses will employ more staff in the lead up to Christmas as part of their customer service strategy. However, as many newbies will not have the same knowledge about products, refund or exchange procedures, like permanent staff, a clear strategy is required to maintain high levels of customer experience. Having the right multi-channel technologies in place to ensure right, consistent answers are delivered to customers regardless of channel, and to assist temporary and permanent contact centre staff, could be the competitive advantage to provide the high levels of customer support needed.
Amazon reported that at 9.10pm, Black Friday 2015 became its biggest sales day ever in the UK with more than six million items ordered. According to the grapevine, this year looks even more promising. Each season, be it holiday or weather related poses its own challenges to support customers during peak and quieter times.
At Synthetix we have helped many businesses transform their online customer service. And as it is the season for giving, we are offering you our very own special pre-Christmas gift, the page turner that is ‘Multi-Channel Online Customer Service For Dummies.’
This 30 minute read will help guide you to: