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Neldi Rautenbach Neldi Rautenbach

Customer Service Is Not Festive


Neldi Rautenbach Neldi Rautenbach Thursday 7th April 2016
Black Friday hits the UK this week.

Shoppers have been eagerly waiting for the ‘official’ start of the Christmas shopping season in the UK. Traditionally the post-Thanksgiving discount day in the US, retailers in the UK have been following suit in slashing prices to attract more customers.

But it’s not only Black Friday, that will be adding pressure on staff in-store and online within contact centres, Mega Monday or Cyber Monday - the busiest online shopping day of the year – will have many customers let their fingers do the shopping on 1 December.

Shop or drop?
This shopping phenomenon is sure to increase stress on retailer’s customer service departments. Customers are not only expecting to shop online any time, but to self-serve and connect to businesses through channels of their choice. They expect retailers to be prepared and the same levels of customer service during a busy period, as they would during a quieter one.

A good customer service strategy can be a competitive advantage during these peak times and the impact substantial to the success of a retailer. So how can retailers prepare their in-store and online staff to deal with this snowball of customers needing assistance?

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens …

Customers have their favourite brands, but generational attitudes to shopping will require retailers to have a clear and consistent multi-channel customer service strategy in place. Contact centre agents, and especially temporary agents will need training to deal with the influx of enquiries via phone, web chat, e-mail and social media channels.

Brown paper packages tied up with string …

As customer interactions escalate during this busy period, it’s shocking that some retailers are still caught off-guard as shoppers hold off until the last minute still expecting to experience good customer service. An interesting survey by The Logic Group involving over 1000 UK shoppers behaviours over last year’s Christmas period proved a multichannel strategy the winning combination. Having a ‘bricks and clicks’ strategy, allowed consumers to browse, buy and self-serve, using the most convenient channel for them, right up to the last minute dash.

When the bee stings
  • 10% of shoppers only shop in the last week before Christmas – mostly the Baby Boomer generation.
  • However millennials (aged 16-24) claimed to do the majority of gift buying in or before November.
  • Many over 55s adopted ‘shopping ninja’ characteristics which included having the least amount of patience in shopping queues.
  • Conversely, those aged 25-34 were ready to wait almost double the time of their older counterparts in a queue, spent the most amount of time online shopping (on average 6 hours and 19 minutes) and 22.2% used their mobile devices to shop.
Having the right technology in place to ensure the customer receives a consistent customer experience is vital in order to retain customers, reduce costs and increase sales. This festive period will provide brands and retailers to build customer loyalty and trust if managed correctly.

I simply remember my favourite things

We have put together free guides with practical advice on implementing web self-service for retailers – which we think they need to consider – when revising their customer service delivery strategy. These can help to:
  • Understand the challenges delivering effective online service creates
  • Get an overview of the tools available to meet those challenges
  • Discover the must-haves you need for effective implementation