With an estimated 1 trillion dollars spent this holiday season, retailers everywhere are overwhelmed with customer support issues after the holidays. Here are 5 customer support tips to help you get through the post-holiday shopageddon.

 

#1 Return Season is Upon Us

Making exchanges and returns easy on customers while simultaneously not extinguishing your revenue is a tough balance.

In a Global Consumer Survey, 86% of shoppers reported that the top factor in deciding whether or not to buy an item depended on the ease of returns and 81% said they will shop somewhere else if they are dissatisfied with a merchants return process.

Now that the shopping madness of November and December have passed, return season is in full swing. With 30% of online purchases being returned, both online and brick and mortar shops need to have a strong returns strategy to ensure they leave a positive impression on consumers. To ensure you have a robust strategy in place, make sure you offer status updates for refunds and exchanges through email and text, receipt tracking for in-store purchases, and perhaps most importantly, review your customer journey map to identify any gaps that may cause you to lose customers along the way.

 

#2 Seamless Experiences

As your customers begin to shop across various in-store locations, online, and in pop-up shops, it’s critical they have consistent experiences with your brand. Redundancy and consistency are two core components in providing a great customer experience no matter where your shoppers may be. But in order to achieve this, your team needs to understand the current shopping experience in-store versus online.

Once you identify the differences, you can work towards creating a frictionless experience across the board. As a part of this process, you will need to expand the types of support channels you offer based on demographics, historical interactions, and budget. My advice? Don’t focus on sparkly new technology like voice shopping just yet. Instead, focus on the quick wins that make a big impact like chat, SMS text messaging, and automation. Learn how to blueprint your CX channel strategy here.

 

#3 Customer Data Protection 

Carbon Black's Threat Analysis Unit expects a 60% increase in cyber attacks during the holiday season. Retailers from every industry need to take every precaution when it comes to their customers’ data by working in a PCI compliant environment, implementing and enforcing GDPR rules and policies, and ensuring that these protection strategies are communicated and demonstrated to your customers. Check with your info security team and confirm that all of your providers operate in a secure environment.

 

#4 Sell More Through Experiences 

When planning and executing experiential events in store, make sure to have a follow-up strategy for potential customers. During and after an event, all products should be in stock along with product descriptions that are identical to what the customer saw, felt, and experienced in-person. For example, Canada Goose, a winter clothing manufacturer went the extra mile by having customers try on outerwear in an ice-box dressing room that was at a temperature of -12 degrees! To optimize digital influence, I would recommend a creative follow up email like, “Now that you’ve experienced the winter weather in Canada, use our one-click ordering service to purchase the items you kept in the cold.” It’s methods like this that can make a big impact with very little customer acquisition cost.

 

#5 Be Social

Social media is not just a channel for millennials to post pictures of gourmet food. A wide demographic of consumers, even Baby Boomers are using social media to get quick answers and check out product features. Providing an exceptional customer experience through social media can be a challenging task, especially in the retail industry where there has been an uptick in inquiries and complaints on social feeds which can snowball and ruin brand reputation overnight. The key to any social media support strategy is staying attentive and engaged with your audience. If there are any public complaints, make sure to carry the conversation into direct messages to personally attend to the customer and avoid public back and forth. To keep your team and brand on the up and up, check out our 5 tips for successful social support.

Interested in more tips on how to survive the post-holiday season? Drop me a note and let’s chat.

 

Stephanie Eslinger

VP of Business Development
January 09, 2019