The expectations consumers set for contact centers tends to be much higher over the December holiday season than any other time of the year.
Shoppers want the info they’re looking for as quickly and painlessly as possible so they can get back to checking off their holiday to-do list. Customer Service Reps are faced with a much greater call-volume.
It’s no secret that the pressure on retailers during the holiday season is particularly high.
Retailers are trying
For many consumers, the manner in which a company delivers customer service dictates whether or not they choose to give that merchant their business.
This is critical as there’s no more competitive time of the year for retailers than the holiday season! Even some of the biggest and best retailers can crack under the pressure. Amazon reps took 1.2 hours longer to answer customer emails last year than they did the year before. And Target’s response time went from 6.1 hours in 2013, to 26.7 hours!
Many retailers are working to improve their Contact Center holiday performance:
- GameStop decreased its call wait time from 727 seconds to 261 seconds – that’s eight minutes less than the previous year.
- Though email responses took a hit, Target managed to reduce its call answer time to 57 seconds.
Time isn’t the only thing consumers are concerned with. Customers also pay attention to whether or not customer reps answer their questions effectively and satisfactorily resolve problems.
Meeting high standards
Although tensions around the holidays are high and customer patience is low, these customer service solutions can help. Here are three tips to expedite inquiry response times:
- Ask for customer data: When a customer reaches out to your contact center via chat, email or phone, contact center agents should be able to access that customer’s data easily and quickly, enabling them to assist the customer as efficiently as possible. Make sure you collect data and hold on to it so customers aren’t frustrated by repeating their information and needs, over and over again.
- Make smarter recommendations: When a contact center rep is faced with an unsatisfied or angry customer, he or she should have access to agent scripts that will guide them through the situation (be sure to have holiday specific scripts). This function will provide much assistance to temporary employees that are hired for the duration of the holiday season.
- Set a wait-time limit: Entrepreneur Magazine noted that 32% of customers said they would hang up after five minutes of being on hold. Yet, 86% of calls get put on hold! To ensure impatient holiday customers can receive assistance when an agent is available, it’s useful to implement a call-back feature. Call-back options provide customers with the choice of staying on hold, or receiving a call from a representative when one is available.
- Contact Center strategies aside, don’t forget to sprinkle a little holiday cheer into your communications. Just make sure you don’t go overboard or you may end up on Santa’s naughty list!