The Christmas to New Year period is stressful for both businesses and customers. All the euphoria surrounding the holidays reflects on work processes, especially the ones affecting the customer service teams. To help you during this hectic period, we have prepared several strategies and tips on how to ease the work of your Customer Service team during the last ten days of the year.
For starters, it's good to review how things were going during this time last year. It will surely help you in building and implementing a successful strategy for the current one.
3 Strategies for Effective Customer Service
The first step of the preparation process is to analyze the workload of your support team and review the capabilities of your Helpdesk software. If you expect a serious wave of inquiries during this period, you may consider upgrading the system with additional modules and/or hiring new agents.
If you use a ticketing system, prepare for a significant increase in the number of new tickets. According to Forbes, as the holiday season approaches, the number of incoming customer inquiries increases 5 to 10 times.
The holidays differ significantly from the rest of the year, so you need to take a different approach and make sure your Customer Service team provides the best customer experience during the shopping frenzy in searching for the best deals.
Did you know that according to Vanilla Forums, 92% of customers would use a Knowledge Base if you have one, and 83% would use a self-service page or forum if available.
Impress your customers with a well-prepared database of answers to frequently asked questions, easily accessible on your FAQ page or customer portal. This will offer a smoother experience for users, especially in the field of E-commerce.
The best way to provide such a base is to review the type of inquiries from the same period last year in your Helpdesk system and compare the availability of answers to the most common customer questions with the FAQ section of your web page. Based on this analysis, you can supplement and update your FAQ page. You can also create ready-to-use email templates with answers to the most frequent customer inquiries to ease the work of the Helpdesk operators.
Customer needs and preferences tend to change during the holiday season. If during the majority of the year customers would not mind using self-service portals, during the holiday period, they would much prefer to communicate directly, even live, with a Customer Service agent.
If the helpdesk software you use combines all communication channels in one place, you will have no problem handling all inquiries, regardless of where they come from. If that's not the case, you might want to consider prioritizing and focusing on those from whom you've received the most requests based on the previous holiday season.
According to Hubtype, messaging will be the most preferred method of communication by consumers, expected to take over in 2023 and reach 61% of all contact initiation options. Given this trend, it is a good idea to consider Web Chat as a communication channel if you are not already using such a channel to communicate with your customers.
Here's another reason why - a Super Office study shows that of all digital channels, live Web Chat is the most used method of communication by consumers, followed by email and social networks.
A Few Tips for Improving Customer Service
Set the right expectations so you can meet them.
What do we mean? When customers evaluate the service and support you provide, they do so based on the expectations you have set. For example, if you mentioned that you provide inquiry feedback within 3 hours and you don't follow through, then customer satisfaction drops tremendously. Don't think, however, that if you don't set such expectations, it will be easier. Just on the contrary. Customers like to have a baseline, and if you don't provide them with one, they create their own reference point, which is most often your competitors' product or service.
Here are some steps you can take to set the right expectations:
- Maintain your SLA (Service Level Agreement) - let your customers know your holiday hours and for how long to expect a response from you.
- Train your team to handle requests from different communication channels equally effectively. This will save you negative feedback.
- Keep track of customer satisfaction by monitoring the reviews left.
- Make sure your team has a complete view of all customer interactions and that it can prioritize requests.
- Offer proactive customer service
We already discussed how to meet customer expectations, and now we're going to talk about how to exceed them. The answer is plain and simple:
Offering proactive support and service helps you build a loyal customer base. In return, clients will refer you to new ones, who also have the potential to become regulars.
The key to being proactive is anticipating your customers' needs. Record all arisen cases and their resolutions, so in the future it will be easier to deal with new ones, similar to those already resolved.
Asking for feedback is also a good way to identify potential mistakes, issues, and difficulties with your customers. It's also an opportunity to proactively fix them before they're experienced by other clients. And last but not least, let your customers know that you are working on resolving their case. This will increase their satisfaction.
Utilize the potential of your Helpdesk system
A functional Helpdesk solution would do wonders for you and your team, and not just during the busy holiday season. If you take advantage of its extensive capabilities, of course.
We share some of the main functionalities of Helpdesk systems for you to pay attention to and eventually implement:
- Open, allocate and close tickets automatically
- Create a Knowledge Base for faster and better service
- Use templates with ready-made answers to frequently asked questions
- Record cases in integrated CRM for faster resolution
- Set new SLA rules during the holiday period
- Require timely service feedback through satisfaction surveys
Automate everything you can
Now that you're aware of the benefits of using a Helpdesk system, it's time to make automations your best friend. They will ease the service and support process, and make the relationship between agents and customers smoother, thanks to reduced response time.
Determine which aspects of the process to automate. For example, common cases or those that can be solved through Knowledge Base. Consider your audience as well – loyal customers know your service and products well and a strategy would work for them, but approach the new ones with special care and patience.
The next step is to take advantage of the functionalities of the Helpdesk solution and use multi-channel communication effectively. Before you start using automations – test them. This will further smooth the entire service process.
Effective service all year round
Every business needs a solid customer service strategy, but a solid strategy isn't just limited to the holiday season. Make sure your support and service team have all the resources and tools needed to provide fast and efficient solutions to customer cases and inquiries all year round.A complex, yet user-friendly Helpdesk system with many useful functionalities and automations would help you for this. It will elevate the level of Customer Service and Customer Support, make the user experience more complete and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.Find out more about the features of InfoServ CRM Helpdesk solution by requesting a free demo HERE. This way, you will be convinced of the system's capabilities.