Christmas-time Rush: 5 Tips for Perfecting Your Holiday Customer Service

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Online retail purchases have grown in popularity, with a 4.4% increase recorded year-on-year. This resulted in 900 million more digital buyers between 2020 and 2021, with 2.14 billion people buying online across the world. And this is especially so during the Christmas period with a staggering £32.26 billion being spent with online retailers across the festive season.

And as online retail increases, so does the demand for quality customer service.

During the festive period, incoming customer calls and communication can increase. In fact, customer service calls went up by 110% over the 2021 Christmas period. And over 91% of customers include returns policies in their buying decisions, so there is an expectation for good customer service. Preparing to accommodate this can improve the efficiency of your company and enhance the customer experience.

Here, UK leading independent outsourcer, Kura, discuss some tips so that you can keep on top of your incoming customer calls and provide the best customer service experience during the festive period.

 

Availability

Being available to your customers is simple but necessary to ensure a good customer experience. According to the Express, the biggest time waster is being put on hold on the phone. And with 32.3% of people believing they should never be put on hold, and 27.6% claiming they would only wait one minute, making sure you have enough customer service advisors to handle the influx of customer calls is absolutely key.

Making sure your figures and call expectations are updated, especially in the run up to Christmas, can eliminate confusion and provide your customers with the most transparency. Offering up a list of times when calls are expected to be low to help patrons reach an advisor is a customer-friendly way to impress.

If you are struggling with the volume of calls, customer service outsourcing could be the answer. Whether this is a temporary or permanent measure, expanding your customer service to a company established to manage high volumes of complaints can provide your clientele with the best experience.

 

Omnichannel systems

Almost 76% of customers claim they would stop doing business with a company they had a bad experience with. Ensuring you provide quality service every time is important for customer retention. Improving the efficiency of your processes can help provide consistent quality. This can be done through omnichannel customer service, which centralises and integrates the communication from multiple areas into one dedicated channel.

Adopting an omnichannel experience will not only help your call centre advisors seamlessly find the information they need, but it will offer your customers the multi-channel experience, free from repetition and complications. Whether you are transferring a customer from live chat to a phone call, or handling enquiries across teams, an omnichannel experience can make sure client information is easily retrievable.

Some 70% of customers use more than one channel during the buying process and 46% of customers claim the most important part of their shopping experience is channel choice. Improving the accessibility to customers is crucial to ensure the best communication, so offering a multitude of options, which can be easily managed by your team, is necessary.

 

Implement chatbots

High volumes of customer contact can often be difficult to manage. Implementing AI powered chatbots could be your solutions to cutting down easily managed complaints and queries without the need for human agents. It’s happening more and more in today’s world. And with 87.2% of global consumers claiming either a neutral or positive engagement with a chatbot, adopting them could improve the efficiency of your customer service without sacrificing quality.

Chatbots can be accessed 24/7, answering routine questions and queries, even during out of office hours. This means that those who cannot access your services throughout the day don’t miss out on the chance to resolve their complaints. Chatbots can also act as an intermediate platform, referring customers to advisors if the complaint cannot be handled through its systems.

 

Train employees to handle high emotions

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it can also be stressful. Being able to manage stress and high emotions, both from a personal and customer perspective, is important for the continual and consistent quality service you look to provide.

Owen Campbell, Head of Operations at Kura said: “Ensuring our employees are trained to their full potential, with the confidence to handle sensitive emotions with compassion and empathy is important to us here at Kura. Managing stress during the festive season is especially important for our employees. Maintaining a professional and friendly manner, no matter the complaint, is essential for the best customer experience.”

Christmas can be a good time to consider your employee benefits and to spot signs of burnout. Hiring temporary staff to relieve some of the stress might be another measure to consider during this hectic time. Ensuring your staff wellbeing is maintained can lead better communication, as well as more efficient and productive calls.

 

Reward employees

As part of the Christmas period, it is important to reward your employees for the hard work they put in. This can also act as an incentive throughout the Christmas period.

Rewards could include:

  • A Christmas party or event
  • Bonuses and financial benefits
  • Free food and drink in office
  • Additional holidays during the coming year

Making sure your employees, especially those who work throughout the Christmas period, feel supported and appreciated is important for keeping morale high.

Christmas can be a busy time for the customer service industry with many returns and complaints needing to be handled. Making sure your employees are well equipped for the upcoming Christmas rush is important not only for the happiness and comfort of your employees but for the benefit of your customers.