Three Tips on Handling Customer Service During Holidays
The holidays create a demand on businesses worldwide unlike any other time of year.
Consumers expect some of the best deals just before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many of the latest and most excellent products are strategically positioned for release this time of year.
If your company, like many others, experiences exponentially more demand for products during the holidays, you will inevitably experience increased customer service demands.
Proper planning and preparation are essential to ensuring the customer experience and satisfaction do not suffer during these hyper-demanding times.
What Is the Customer Experience?
The customer experience describes the quality of service a customer receives from your company from their first interaction with a touchpoint to the last.
For instance, a customer may first find your company on Facebook and, as a result, end up on your eCommerce website, where they make a purchase.
The customer experience will envelop everything from your social media account to the process of finding your website, the ease of navigating your website, the purchase process, and the eventual shipping and receiving of the product ordered.
In some cases, however, the customer experience will involve even more touchpoints. For instance, they may visit one of your physical locations and then purchase a product online.
That same customer may have an issue with shipping or a technical problem with the product delivered. In that event, they will contact your customer service department via phone, a chatbot online, text message, or other mediums.
The customer’s experience is impacted at several touchpoints in this case. It’s important to understand that having strength at one touchpoint but weakness at another can negatively affect the entire customer experience.
Therefore, strengthening every touchpoint is vital in ensuring the customer experience has a positive outcome. Like a domino effect, the customer experience impacts customer attrition or retention, brand loyalty, customer satisfaction, Google and other website reviews, revenues, profits, and growth.
In other words, the customer experience is a big deal.
How Does the Customer Experience Affect Customer Satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is directly tied to the universal customer experience. That may sound like a hyperbolic position, but we assure you it isn’t. Customers may be in love with your product but frustrated with the difficulty of ordering it from your eCommerce website.
They may love your website but feel like your social media accounts fail to update often enough. They may love your product, website, and social media presence but hate how long it takes to get help when an issue arises.
In all of these scenarios, a weak link in the chain causes the chain to weaken everywhere. The Customer experience is directly linked to customer satisfaction.
Therefore, it is paramount to sustained growth and success that you invest in this department, which, as you can see, encompasses many different layers.
What Are Some Ways I Can Improve the Customer Experience?
Several factors play into improving the customer experience, including:
- Staying relevant and up-to-date with current trends on your social media
- Providing an easy process to purchase your products online by providing a high-end high-capacity eCommerce site
- Providing quick, responsive, and effective customer service
However, despite the various ways to fortify the customer experience across all your touchpoints, providing excellent customer service is one particular thing that outweighs many of the others.
There are two ways you can improve the customer service you provide — you can choose to insource the department and develop it within, or outsource it to a trusted customer service partner.
Insourcing vs. Outsourcing
Insourcing simply means you keep your customer service services in-house and develop the department within.
This means developing and maintaining the Information Technology (IT) resources to accommodate both the phone and online components of customer service and having the infrastructure to house the IT equipment and employees. Lastly, it includes hiring and training customer service representatives to render the service.
Outsourcing, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. Outsourcing moves the development and maintenance of customer service outside your company and places it with an outsourcing partner specializing in providing the service, like Awesome CX.
There is a third option that is closely related to outsourcing but is a little different, known as subcontracting. Subcontracting is a form of outsourcing; however, it differs most dramatically in terms of time commitments.
Outsourcing generally involves a prolonged, protracted, and more permanent partnership, and usually, subcontracting involves short-term freelance or contract work meant to be temporary.
Three Tips To Increase Customer Service Experience During the Holidays
We’ve taken a deep dive into the differences between outsourcing and insourcing and how the customer experience is significantly impacted by customer service. Now, let’s look at some ways your company can increase customer satisfaction with your customer service touch points during the holidays.
Hire Seasonal Help
Hiring seasonal workers to help provide customer service and meet the demands of the holiday shopping season is a great way to increase your capacity to handle customer concerns when they arise.
The law of numbers dictates that you will experience increased sales during the holidays and, as a result, increased demands on your customer service resources.
Hiring seasonal workers gives you the additional personnel to handle phone calls, respond to online messages, and send text responses without making a permanent commitment for the rest of the year.
The downside to this is that temporary workers are hard to come by, and sometimes temporary employees (Temps) may not have the same work ethic as other full-time employees. They do not share the same aspirations for your company’s success as your full-time employees and need to be trained from the ground up.
This results in a considerable commitment of resources for training and the need for effective management to ensure consistent and effective customer service delivery.
Increase Alternative Customer Service Options
Due to the high demand for your call centers, increasing your alternative customer service options can help alleviate long wait times, which are the number one reason customers become dissatisfied with customer service.
When you utilize online chat options, social media messaging, and text support, you reduce demand on call centers and, as a result, minimize wait times.
Consumers love to text over any other method of communication, and providing this option can have tremendous benefits on your overall customer satisfaction.
Partner With an Outside Agency
Partnering with an outside customer service agency, whether temporary or permanent, is a great way to increase your capacity to handle holiday demand.
Since customer service agencies already have the employees and infrastructure in place without further development, they can offer increased customer service capacity without huge investments.
This is one of the reasons most companies outsource — to reduce costs. Outsourcing costs considerably less than insourcing because it eliminates the requirement for substantial capital investments.
Instead, you’ll enter into a contractual agreement with your partner agency that comes with upfront pricing.
There are negative aspects of outsourcing that you must consider before you enter an agreement with a partner agency.
For instance, outsourcing means you lose much of your managerial oversight and have little to no control over who is assigned to provide services for your company. Additionally, some companies may charge hidden fees for services you might miss unless you’re careful.
Therefore, one of the most critical steps to mitigate these concerns is to do your research, ask many questions, and choose a company with a proven track record of success with many happy partners they’ve worked with.
How We Can Help
At Awesome CX, we specialize in providing high-end customer service solutions to our clients, including some of the world’s most hyper-growth eCommerce businesses.
Because outsourcing has some drawbacks, we have taken every step to ensure you can confidently mitigate those concerns when entering into a partnership with our company.
Our pricing is all-inclusive without hidden fees. We provide dedicated teams to service your customers, and we take being an extension of your company seriously. We honor your company culture and make your growth and success goals our own.
Give us a call or connect with us today, and our team will be happy to answer any of your questions and show you why we are an Awesome choice for providing an enhanced customer experience for your customers.
Why do consumers prefer text messages over phone calls | YouGov
What is Outsourcing and How Does it Work? | TechTarget