Holidays are when everything is happier and brighter than usual; and everyone feels a lot more generous, positive and mindful. All that generosity is inevitably reflected in the spending habits of people around the holidays. In fact, we all know it can get a bit much; the hurry-burry, insane amount of gifts to be bought, food to be prepared, people to be flown in and out, memories to be made.
When your customers have a thousand plans and businesses are not equipped to keep up with them, it can get a bit frustrating for everyone involved! What can businesses do to make their customer’s life easier? How can businesses make their customers remember them even after the hustle and bustle of holidays are over?
We have a few tips outlined below.
- Great memories instead of Great Transactions
Most companies look at holidays at how Uncle Scrooge looks at his pile of money. They see an immense opportunity to ramp up their revenue. Instead, it is the perfect time to help create great memories for their customers. Lifelong customers could be won or lost depending on how the business chooses to play out their sales and engagement. Since holidays is an emotional time, all it takes could be one bad experience for a customer to consider leaving you. It is not very hard to imagine how a father might be feeling if his son’s most anticipated and favourite toy doesn’t get delivered in time for christmas. Or if a holiday meal is served cold and tasteless to a huge hungry family. It is the time when the little things matter more than ever.
Businesses need to be extra cautious, deliver and listen ever so intently and most importantly, be ready and equipped to use this data to quickly turn around strategies. To create meaningful relationships with the customers by employing empathetic engagements, companies can make use of well crafted customer service platforms. For example, a platform that uses emotion and sentiment analysis and artificial intelligence to move unhappy or VIP customers to the front of the queue can help companies deliver superior customer experiences.
- Give more Autonomy for front-line staff
Empower your employees with more autonomy. Give them the ability to make more decisions that will make customers happy and resolve issues quickly so that you are perceived as going above and beyond to help customers. With this additional flexibility, employees will be able to resolve issues much faster, without having to continuously escalate to managers for every decision. Companies can even provide employees with some additional holiday budget to go that extra mile to delight customers.
- Work those Recommendations
A hubspot 2019 survey revealed that 90% of consumers act on recommendations from friends and family. So if you do not have one, holidays are the perfect time to launch and run a referral program for your business. Additionally, offering a subtle holiday incentive is additional motivation for the customers to remember you. For example, through your loyalty program, you can award additional points and exclusive attractive offers for those customers who refer their friends anytime during the holidays, during specific designated time intervals, or even multiple times during the season. This helps to create repeat visits from your existing customers and new visits from their friends and family. If executed well, referrals can be a real growth booster for your business this holiday season.
- Strengthen your Customer Support Systems
Customers expect everything to be instant, especially during the holidays – be it deliveries, billing, replies for their queries or just information that they require. Holiday season is the right time to ramp up and strengthen your customer support systems. Deploying more staff to handle enquiries that come through social media, adopting a CRM for company wide customer management, designing chatbots to deliver fast answers to customer queries 24X7 are some ways to face the holidays.
For instance, Resolution Bot can suggest answers to the customer’s questions as and when they are typing them. By mining data from previous holidays and identifying patterns and most frequently asked queries that are using up your customer service team’s bandwidth, you can automate part of customer support, saving up a lot of time and money. Another example is to help customers complete their order by auto populating a proactive alert or message on the checkout page to anticipate their issues and questions preemptively answer. For example, if you notice that the customer has been on the checkout page for quite some time, they might have some questions running through their mind about shipping, offers or coupon codes. You can create an automated message that directs them to your frequently asked questions in that area so they get the relevant information upfront and don’t need to go through the trouble of getting in touch with your customer service team.
- Get your mobile strategy holiday-ready
It is not news that people perform a significant amount of their transactions through mobile. And with the pandemic, many consumers are still scared about heading out to shop at physical stores, so online shopping will continue to increase this year. According to a Google survey, 75% of U.S. shoppers said they will shop online this year. For businesses that haven’t already looked into online store options, or if your online store is not user responsive and mobile friendly, the clock is ticking.
- Make use of your data
Consumers expect retailers to know how they have interacted in the past and what issues they have encountered. Learn from your mistakes. Deploy transactional and consumer analytics to figure out what you need to create a customer experience strategy just for the holidays. For example, on which days and what time did consumers shop most? Which channel did they use to contact your customer care and to shop? What price range of items did various customer segments shop for? What was the cart abandonment rate and customer effort score? The more relevant the questions you ask, the easier it will be for your business to make decisions for the next holiday season.
Surely what mentioned above aren’t the only steps you can take to ensure a smooth customer experience during the holidays. But it is definitely a start. To summarise:
- Concentrate on creating great memories instead of great transactions.
- Give more power to your front-line staff.
- Strengthen your referral and recommendation systems.
- Polish up your customer support systems.
- Be mobile ready.
- Make use of your biggest wealth – your past data.
What else do you think are some of the ways to ensure smooth and fluid customer experience during the holiday season? We would love to hear from you!