It’s about to be the most wonderful time of the year, or the most stressful. This depends on what side of the spectrum you’re on.
While the holiday season can be full of spending for your consumers, it can also mean an excess of customer experience hoops to jump through.
The congestion of shopping malls and traffic jams have long been the norm for holiday shopping. But now, much of the traffic has diverged to a more digital direction.
Doubling down on your current customer experience strategy during this surge will certainly help. Preparing for this influx and online traffic should be top-of-mind.
As we’ve learned, customer experience is everything.
Delivering a consistent and pleasant approach to exceeding expectations during such a memorable time can have a drastic impact on customer retention and helping gain new advocates for your business.
Figure out where your customers are headed
Like we said before, much of the traffic today is on the internet — for retailers this is especially true. But make sure you know where your customers will be looking for your business during the holidays. If it’s in stores, make sure you’re prepared.
Put your best foot forward
Hiring the best possible employees shouldn’t just for the holidays. But during this time, it’s important to make sure that the employees that are on staff are ready for the busy and stressful time.
Staffing also should be a preemptive measure. Make sure there are enough employees on site if you’re expecting a large amount of store traffic.
Try out a new layout
Store flow is a science. During high traffic times, it’s important that customers are able to peruse and shop without congestion. Try out a new layout to open up the floor and allow for more foot traffic.
If your customers are online-centric, you’re approach will look a lot different. As online retailers continue to grow, their ability to provide great customer experience has become even more omni-channeled. This means that a consistent approach to the customer experience has to applied wherever a customer has a touchpoint with your product or service.
The digital experience comes from many different sources. From chat support and email, to websites and call centers — the unification of support has to be crisp.
Prepping your website
This is your hub, your digital storefront, the face of your business for every consumer searching for your products or services on the internet. If customers are flooding your website this holiday to purchase, the last thing you want is for your website to crash.
Optimizing your website and preparing for high volume will prevent a severely poor customer experience. Amazon, the leader in online retailers suffered greatly last year during this time. Because their site couldn’t handle the load, they lost nearly $72 million in potential sales.
Depending on if you’re hosting your own site or you utilize a shopping cart hosting service — you’ll have to prepare accordingly. Apps like BigCommerce or Shopify are built to handle sudden surges. They’ll handle any sudden spikes in traffic.
But if you’re hosting yourself, you’ll have to do some prep. Be sure to do load testing, this will ensure that your site is prepared for the holiday traffic. Most services that people use when they host their own websites are used to consistent traffic, not drastic up-and-downs.
Services like these can help you load test, predict performance and even check up on page load speed during high traffic spikes:
Be ready for the mobile rush
Customers use their phones to make purchases, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The amount of purchases over the past few years has continued to increase for mobile shoppers as well. In fact, 62% of mobile users have made a purchase on their smartphone in the past 5 months.
We would hope that you’re already optimized for mobile, but if not — you are taking a serious loss during the holiday season.
Mobile shoppers are fickle as well. They are difficult to keep on the page and even more difficult to please. Just as with your website, making sure that load times and crashes aren’t a problem are paramount for the mobile shopping experience during the holidays.
Equipping your support team
This may be the most challenging hurdle to jump. Your support team will need to be diligent and vigilant during the holiday rush. This means staffing accordingly and equipping your in-house team with the right tools is crucial. For online retailers this is of the highest importance. Well trained call centers can actually increase revenue for online retailers, and this is especially true during the holiday season.
Your support team needs to be prepared to handle the diverse concerns and questions that will come their way during this time. Having the right management and tools in place to thrive during this time will do wonders for your customer experience.
If you’re team is not prepared, you risk bad customer experience during a time people will remember. The holidays are a focal point for your customers. Smoothly handling customer concerns and providing a favorable experience will not be in vain.
If you’re not prepared with the right equipment and management, you risk burning out your representatives during an important time. If you’re already seeing the signs of problems popping up during small spikes, you may want to think about outsourcing your call center services.
Shine this holiday season
Being one step ahead and preparing for the busy holiday season is nothing new. Preparing your digital front for the holiday rush may not be top-of-mind — but it has to be. With modern customer experience revolving around mobile devices and instant support, prepping your digital experience is essential.
If you’re not implementing an omni-channel approach or you’re customer support team is already overwhelmed — it may be time to reach out. Contact us to talk about the wide variety of opportunities available when outsourcing your call center services.