Great companies recognize that the holiday season is the most important time of the year. It’s a given that the increased number of customer transactions and interactions will take its toll on your staffing, and nobody wants a damper on their holiday spirit. That’s why it’s doubly important to offer the best service during the holidays.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com, is well-known for recognizing the importance of the holiday season. Amazon has been consistently ranked as champion of the customer service experience by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. In December of 2011, Amazon achieved the almost impossible goal of delivering 99.9% of its packages to all of its millions of customers before Christmas. It was a herculean feat by any measure, but when asked about it Bezos simply said, “We’re not satisfied until it's 100%.”
And that is the exact mindset you need going into the holiday season. Amazon understands how important the holiday season is, and you’ll need to do the same to stand out to your customers.
What are eight things you can do to ensure your customers are getting the best holiday experience possible?
1. Prepare the holiday self support options
Be sure to have something on your website or FAQ page to passively assist your customers. Set your auto-responders appropriately. Not all concerns need to be handled by a representative. Expanding your self-support options will help customers resolve simple concerns on their own, and lighten the load for your people. Customers will appreciate being able to quickly resolve their concern on their own.
2. Hype up your staff
You will need more coverage than normal during the holidays. Make sure you have enough people, and be sure to solicit overtime as needed.
Also, recognize their efforts with overtime or holiday pay. Prepare something extra in the office or during their shift, like a Christmas lunch or dinner, or an electronic gift card for remote employees. Happier employees will bring happier customers.
3. Spread the holiday cheer
A study from The Entrepreneur shows that 48% of customers prefer holiday music when placed on hold. Keep your customer’s spirits up by using the mood of the season to your advantage. The same goes for your employees – dress up the office, have a best holiday station contest or have employees send in their best holiday selfie. It all helps reflect on the bottom line: customer happiness.
4. Set your customer’s expectations
It’s important to set your customer’s expectations for the holidays. Will you have 24/7 phone coverage or just have email support?Even if you only do emails, if you communicate it in advance customers tend to be very understanding. Setting the right expectations will reduce confusion and frustration, and set the proper tone for a great customer experience.
5. A simple greeting can go a long way
Be sure to start every customer interaction with the greeting, “Happy holidays.” In a survey conducted by The Entrepreneur, 35% of customers responded positively to this greeting as the most heart-warming phrase. Starting your call, email or chat right will set the interaction up for success, and help with your customer’s mood right from the get go.
6. Keep interactions short
Work at making your calls, chats and other interactions short. The holiday season is a busy season, and everyone is in a rush, including your customers. Emphasize crisp, concise interactions with your agents this season and you not only lower your handle time, this lets your people take a breather, provide more coverage, and most importantly your customers will resolve their concern quickly and they can get back to their day faster.
7. Send out a personalized follow-up
The most important thing in customer service is showing to your customers that you care. Make it a point to send out a personalized email follow-up from an agent or a supervisor once the issue has been resolved. If this is too resource-intensive, set up a system that will at least send out a holiday template to give the customer a follow-up. The little extra effort will surely put a smile on your customer’s face.
8. Get ready for January with loyalty discounts
Your business doesn’t stop at the end of the year. Offer a January discount on services for customers making December purchases. Encourage your customers to continue their interactions with your business after the holidays, and promote your next year as early as today. You’ll be sure to reap the rewards after.
Which of these tips will you be employing for your contact center this holiday season?