Black Friday survival guide: How to prepare for an influx of raised tickets

By Daniel Bailey, Regional Vice President, North West Europe, at Zendesk

This Black Friday and Cyber Week, retailers will no doubt be swamped with inbound enquiries and comments from customers on price points, stock availability, delivery times, returns policies and more. Those able to listen, empathise and act – responding in line with customer expectations for the chosen communication channel, will gain loyal brand ambassadors going into the peak holiday shopping season, and hopefully, for the rest of the year. Those not engaging in consistent communication, will see empowered shoppers quickly take their business elsewhere.

That said, according to our benchmark data for EMEA businesses, last year the average number of customer tickets raised reached its peak on Cyber Monday (with an average of 55 tickets raised per agent in 2018), whilst customer satisfaction fell to 77%. What’s more, we’ve seen customer satisfaction in this region dip by 0.6% year on year, from 2016 to 2018 – highlighting that we still have a long way to go in meeting the demands of customers during this busy shopping season.

However, despite these trends, it’s not all gloom and doom. There’s a lot of simple steps brands can take to get ahead of the game and prepare to handle increased enquiries, whilst still maintaining a quality customer service. Taking the time to follow these simple steps will go a long way in setting yourself up for success.

Step one: Plan ahead

Businesses can learn from these findings and ensure they are prepared to respond to customer enquiries. This means preparing to respond to customers on their chosen method of communication channel, be it Live Chat, Twitter, email or even WhatsApp. Ultimately, it’s important to have agents ready to handle enquiries from whatever platform the consumer opts to use.

Step two: Remember to create a strong culture of empowerment

During peak shopping periods like Cyber Week, it’s important to remember that we cannot rely on technology alone to create the best customer experience. In the best cases, it’s combined with a strong culture of empowerment for your teams to support on customer queries. How are you training your teams – including seasonal staff – and building a strong brand voice with them? Where your technology can help you understand the customer better, it’s important that it is complemented with a culture of empathy and support to give the best experience.

Step three: Help your customers to help themselves

On the whole, customers prefer to use self-service options wherever possible, as opposed to getting in touch with the business. This means that taking the time to create self-service capabilities can have a massive impact on the number of inbound enquiries a business will receive. Take the time to put answers together to the most commonly asked questions. For example – think about how many consumers want to know, ‘How long will it take for my order to arrive?’ By making this information visible and searchable on the website, customers will be more satisfied by having the ability to find accurate issue resolutions – and at speed.

Peak sale season doesn’t have to be intimidating. By taking the time to empower your teams with the right tools and technology, these measures can be used all year round to improve customer service, and make the life of your agents easier.

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