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Is your customer support team ready for Black Friday?

Black Friday kick-starts the busiest shopping season of the year. Are you and your team ready for the increased demands on customer support?

This year’s Black Friday is going to present a more substantial challenge to customer support teams than usual. While most high street shops remain closed due to the second wave of coronavirus, customers have no other option but to enjoy the Black Friday sales online. As customers won’t have access to in-store support, companies must anticipate the high volumes of customer support requests and prepare their teams.

Landscape change

Firstly, we must understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer behaviour. As the government takes actions to stop the spread of the virus, high street shops are forced to close down. Customers are also adjusting their buying habits in real-time to match changing conditions. Some are trying a new product or service for the first time, whilst others are cancelling plans or making new ones.

Secondly, as consumer behaviour is reshaped, it profoundly affects the customer support landscape. In 2019’s Black Friday, the number of support requests submitted by customers increased by 65 percent. This year, this number is expected to be much higher. Additionally, in August of 2020, online retailers were managing 50 percent more customer tickets, while traditional retailers have seen a 23 percent bump. Even the most experienced teams will want to take extra steps to ensure they’re well prepared for whatever the season may bring.

Lastly, we must consider which channels are seeing the biggest jumps. Customers are flocking to online help centres, where views are up more than 40 percent. WhatsApp use has jumped nearly 300 percent during the pandemic, with chat and text also rising in popularity. Zendesk recently became the first helpdesk to allow users to contact companies via Whatsapp.

Thriving this Black Friday

Taking into account all these significant changes, we have prepared a list of five tips to help you and your team deliver world-class customer service this Black Friday:

1 – Offer omnichannel support

As high street stores remain closed, online shopping is the only way customers can enjoy Black Friday deals. So, find out where your customers are, which platforms they use, and make sure you are ready to connect with them.

2 – Keeping it efficient

When ticket volume is high, it’s helpful to have a streamlined support operation. This means that tickets are getting to the right people, simple tasks are automated, and agents can access the resources they need in scalable and repeatable ways.

3 – Reduce response time

No customer wants to be stuck on the phone or passed from agent to agent as they try to find answers. Every second that your customer isn’t getting an answer from you is a second that they are spending thinking about switching to another brand.

4 – Easy and lean self-service

Make it easy for your customers to help themselves. The best way is to create FAQ’s and a help centre. By letting customers find answers themselves, you are saving them from having to reach out in the first place and keeping agents focused on more complex problems.

5 – Empower your team with efficient technology.

Provide the necessary tools so your team can deliver premium customer service this Black Friday. It doesn’t matter how well trained your customer support team is, without the right tools it is impossible to deal with the high demand of Black Friday.

The benefits of getting customer support right

Besides looking for the best deals this Black Friday; customers want fast and friendly (world-class) customer service. With retailers competing so closely in terms of price points, it might be customer service that tips the balance on a particular purchase.

UK figures from The Institute of Customer Service suggest that customers who are treated well with “excellent” customer service may spend up to £53 more at a particular retailer, on average.

With a holistic look at where your customers are and where they need you to be, as well as how you can better streamline your internal workflows, companies can be better prepared for the holiday season and whatever comes next.