Black Friday is a phrase that elicits an immediate emotional response from virtually everyone that hears it. These two words can immediately send customers reaching for their wallets, but they also have a habit of creating tidal waves of pressure for business leaders and customer service reps.
The good news is that Black Friday represents an incredible opportunity for virtually any retailer (online or offline). Even in spite of the cost-of-living issues and economic pressures, online sales increased 23% during Black Friday 2022, compared to the same period in 2021.
In 2021, UK consumers spent over £9.2 billion during Black Friday weekend. As customers continue to crave great deals to help them overcome the cost-of-living problems, retailers have an excellent opportunity to capitalise on the growing momentum of sales shopping this year.
However, there’s one thing that business leaders need to focus on before they can discover the benefits of Black Friday bargains for themselves: customer service.
Customer Service: The Key to Black Friday Success
Black Friday, while often profitable, can present several challenges to business leaders. The biggest challenge of all is usually maintaining exceptional customer service. In fact, according to some studies, the number of customer support tickets raised during Black Friday can increase by around 50%.
Overwhelmed customer support employees can often struggle to deliver experiences that live up to customer expectations—leading to a loss in loyalty and massive churn once the sales period is over. However, the brands that can preserve their customer service strategy can see amazing results.
For instance, one report found that customers who receive “excellent” customer service during Black Friday in the UK spend up to £51 more with each retailer. Additionally, 9 out of 10 people who received great customer service on Black Friday shopped with the same retailer again.
The question is, how do you manage the influx of customer service requests?
Top Tips for Handling Customer Service Influxes
Today’s customers expect amazing experiences from brands on a consistent basis. Even if your teams are overwhelmed by additional support requests, they expect you to be able to deliver the same high-quality support, guidance, and personalised service.
Fortunately, there are ways companies can prepare for the fluctuations of Black Friday.
- Make Accessing Support Simple
Most customers are in a hurry on Black Friday, eager to take advantage of deals before they disappear. They don’t always have time to search through your website for contact details or track down your business on Google. With that in mind, it’s worth looking for ways to make the path to support as streamlined as possible. Ensure you include regular, visible buttons and links for contacting your team via services like chat or social media.
Part of making support as easy to access as possible is also ensuring you’re available to respond on all of the channels your customers already use. Google shows that most customers spread their shopping journey across multiple channels, and they want to be able to interact with your company where is convenient to them.
If you don’t have an omnichannel strategy for customer service already, now could be the perfect time to implement one. Find out where your customers usually look for support, and make sure your in-house and outsourced teams have access to those platforms.
- Take Advantage of Self-Service Tools
Since customers crave speed during Black Friday, there’s a good chance they’ll look for ways to resolve issues rapidly themselves before contacting your team. Around 81% of customers will try to address an issue themselves before contacting a representative.
Providing your customers with easy access to self-service tools, like FAQ pages and information about your shipping and delivery times, can help to improve customer satisfaction significantly. It also means you can reduce some of the volume of requests coming through to your service team.
Just remember, not every customer will be able to resolve an issue using self-service solutions alone. Make sure it’s easy for your customers to move from an AI chatbot or FAQ screen into a conversation with an agent as quickly as possible if they need to access human assistance.
What’s more, remember that your website needs to be configured to effectively manage large volumes of traffic and chat requests. Ensure any of the apps you’re using for things like live chat, click-to-call, or AI-based chatbots can handle an increase in demand.
- Be Proactive
Another excellent way to improve your customer service strategy for Black Friday is to take a more proactive approach to CX. There are various ways you can get one step ahead of potential customer problems. For instance, if you know your customers are likely to have questions about shipping and delivery times, create an FAQ page where they can find answers.
If you know that you might have issues with supply chain and delivery times, reach out to your customers proactively and let them know what to expect. Customers are more likely to be forgiving of delays when you’re transparent and straightforward.
- Use Data to Your Advantage
One of the best ways to turbocharge your customer service strategy for Black Friday is to take advantage of as much customer data as possible.
You can more effectively predict what to expect from this year’s sale period by utilising the data you have about website traffic and sales from the previous years. You can use this data to help you prepare for service requests; which channels were the most popular? Which issues were most common? Can you do anything to encourage self-serve of the key issues or make any operational improvements?
You can also use data from your CRM and similar databases to create more customised offers and personalised experiences for your customers. Find out your core customer segments and email them in advance with specific deals tailored to their interests.
Don’t Let Customer Service Slide on Black Friday
If your customer service strategy slips during Black Friday, it can have a long-lasting impact on your brand reputation and ability to convert customers. During stressful periods, customers expect exceptional service more than ever. Failing to deliver true excellence, even during busy times, could mean you lose your customers to your competitors.
Follow the steps above to improve your chances of excellent results this Black Friday. Feel free to reach out to DDC Outsourcing Solutions to discuss your challenges and how we are solving them for leading retailers.