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Top 9 tips for customer service teams during the holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…. but not for CX teams. It’s no surprise that the holiday rush leads to busy customer service departments. Ecommerce businesses are set to see skyrocketing sales, but also an increase in customer service requests. Are you ready for the rush? To help you get ready, we’ve put together this guide as a Christmas gift: here are our top 9 tips for customer service teams during the holiday season

Tip #1: Check out data and trends from last year

The best way to be prepared is to know what to expect. You have the data and trends from last year just begging to be analysed. What do you wish you’d done better last year? How can you use that information to succeed now?

Check website analytics: Look at where your visitors and conversions came from, which channels performed the best? Did you know that a website gets upwards of 63% more traffic during the holiday season?

Check help desk software: Look at the data from last year’s holiday season and see where your support team could have used more support. Use that data to reorganise your customer service efforts to provide the best CX over the holidays.

Check in with your marketing team and see which campaigns they will be running for the holiday season. Use this information to forecast incoming volumes on top of your regular holiday rush.

Tip #2: Balance capacity and expected volume

The holiday season is prime time for your staff to take a few days off. It’s been a long year and they deserve it! But it can be a huge bottle neck for your customer service efforts. Take the time now to plan your holiday rosters. The balance between team capacity and expected volume is super important, especially since 47% of your customers expect fast replies during the holiday season.

Tip #3: Leverage automation

Don’t forget your agent experience! Take the time now to prepare automation that will help with FAQs and easy returns. This will take some of the pressure off your agents during the holiday season. Their experience is just as important as the customer experience! They’re your people on the frontline.

Tip #4: Work together with other departments

Customer service and CX teams are usually the only departments running at full capacity during the holiday break. Check in with other departments to see if they need any support. If you have the agents to spare, see if marketing needs help with covering social media, or if finance needs a hand with refunds. Think of it as damage control: better teamwork leads to better preparation. And that ultimately leads to happier customers!

Tip #5: Be transparent with your customers

If you don’t mention anything, your customers will automatically expect your customer service and CX teams to run the same way they do all year. It’s not rocket science, it’s psychology!

Make sure that you’re setting the right expectations with your customers by being fully transparent about what you can offer. Here are a few ways to do just that:
– Be clear about the availability of your customer service agents
– Get some extra agents on your social support line: this is often where people will go first when they need something
– Set autoreplies so they know exactly when they can expect a response
– Be clear in your returns policies to minimise questions
– Be transparent: if you’re using a bot for FAQs, let customers know!
– Make it easy to schedule returns

Tip #6: Update canned responses

Whatever canned responses your CX and sales teams use, make sure that it’s up to date with the holiday information. Do you already have automated email responses for orders and deliveries? Make sure that every piece of extra information is timely and directly related to your holiday sales plans.

Double check with the marketing team to see what campaigns are live and add them to your auto responding emails.

Tip #7: Be proactive

Really put yourself in your clients’ shoes. When you do that, you can anticipate their needs. When you anticipate their needs, you can create content and email flows that answer their questions before they even think to ask them. This is the basis for proactive customer support!

Think about the most common issues that come up with your customers. Do past trends show that these issues increase or decrease during the holiday season? What are your customers’ preferred channels for these specific issues?

If you can answer these questions, you can proactively create content and email flows that provide a solution before your customers can even think to ask. A great example is providing updated delivery notifications when needed or reminding customers about wishlisted items they might want to buy as gifts.

Tip #8: Communication is key

You can only anticipate customer needs based on past experience. But what happens if something goes wrong or there’s an unexpected surge in sales? Or maybe an agent has a personal emergency and can’t work a planned shift? Do your agents know who to call when they need help? Make sure that the communication lines are clear so your whole team knows where to find the information they need.

Tip #9: Integrate, integrate, integrate!

Last but certainly not least, don’t wait for the holidays to shop for new software. If you don’t have an omnichannel solution yet, now’s the time to get one. Find a solution that allows you to integrate all your sales software and CRM, so all your customer data is in one place. This will save agents time during the rush. A single inbox means they won’t be toggling between windows to find what they need.

There you have it. Our top 9 tips for surviving the holiday season. Don’t wait until the last minute to get ready for the rush, you already have all the tools you need. Now it’s up to you to implement them! Good luck and happy holidays from the Saysimple team.