Black Friday shopping is a holiday tradition that’s not going anywhere. The retail landscape continues to rapidly change with the popularity of online shopping and on-the-go purchases. That’s why it’s so important for customer service teams to keep up with the crowds. We’ve put together a roundup of this year’s biggest Black Friday trends and how customer service teams can make sure they’re staying on top during the year’s busiest season to meet and exceed service expectations.
Skip the Lines
Black Friday has become notorious for stampeding crowds and bloody noses. To avoid the chaos, consumers are ditching the malls and doing their holiday shopping from the comfort of their couches.
A big change occurred last year in 2016, when most brands began offering the same deals in-store and online. Black Friday online sales reached an all-time high this year, up 24% from 2016. Even more impressive is the fact that Cyber Monday broke records as the largest day of online sales in the US ever. This increase is nothing new, but 2017 marks the first year that less than half of online purchases were made from a computer. 40% of this year’s online sales were made from a smartphone, most likely because busy consumers are loving the ease of mobile wallets and worry-free mobile checkout processes. Since consumers are already on their smartphones, more brands are also using SMS solutions to be available for their customers at anytime.
So what does this mean for the retailer? In a world of online, mobile and in-store retail options, customers have come to expect omnichannel integration. This means that whether customers are shopping in-store, on their laptops, or on their phones, they expect retailers to honor deals and uphold customer service standards across all channels. They also expect all of these channels to be integrated smoothly. For example, a customer should be able return an online purchase to a store location without a problem, as many shoppers will do their shopping research in-store and purchase online (or vice versa). The option to purchase online and later pick up in-store was the reason that 33% of shoppers decided to make a purchase during last year’s holiday season.
Hello Black November
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are slowly being replaced by an even bigger shopping event: Black November. Many deals that were once exclusive to Black Friday no longer are. Retailers have been advertising “Black Friday Week” and “Black Friday Month”. For example, Amazon launched an entire Black Friday Store on November 1, featuring daily deals. Brands are wanting to stand out from the competition by being the first to offer a great deal, and customers have definitely been taking advantage.
Spending in the weeks leading up to Black Friday increased this year compared to last year, with over $1 billion dollars in online sales taking place every single day from November 1 – 22. With these extended sales, consumers also expected extended availability and hours of service. In order to smoothly sail through the holiday rush, customer service teams should be prepped and ready well in advance of Black Friday weekend. Customers want to be able to purchase items when it’s convenient for them, even in the middle of the night. This means that retailers must ramp up their staff during this season and ensure that customer service team members are ready and available to handle late-night shoppers and customers in varying time zones. By purposefully advertising their phone number, email and chat tool, brands can make sure that they are as available to their customers as possible.
This year’s trends once again emphasize the need for brands to have a strong omnichannel integration and a ready-for-anything customer service team, in order to succeed both during the holidays and all year round.
Social media isn’t an emerging channel anymore – it’s a necessity. We know that social media is here to stay, but the best practices for engagement will always evolve as our industry transforms. Voice support is a perfect example of this. Even though it’s been around for a long time, companies have had to keep moving the dial in ways like incorporating brand voice, new technologies and customized IVRs.
Social Customer Care Teams will experience the same challenges to keep this channel fresh. That’s why we’ve outlined some helpful tips and tools to get the best out of your ever-changing social media care program.
Let’s Get Personal
Did you know that customers who experience a positive social media interaction are 3x more likely to recommend that brand? To stand out from the crowd, brands are personalizing interactions through their social support and Spotify is a great example of this. Their Social Customer Care Team is trained on expectations around brand voice and engagement, and then empowered to get creative with their responses. For example, they’re encouraged to use song titles, playlists and other Spotify brand elements when responding. They also spread custmer love with “Random Acts of Kindness”, surprising unsuspecting customers with a customized playlist based on their listening habits. This is a fun way to not only boost engagement, but also customer loyalty.
It Goes Down in the DM
As part of the Social Customer Care evolution, new tools have emerged that make it easier than ever to direct message with customers. Tools like Apple Business Chat, Drift and Intercom allow customers to engage in a direct message conversation with the brand, have a guided shopping experience, receive responses to inquiries and make payments all in one spot – without ever having to jump from channel to channel.
Bots Are So Hot Right Now
Have you heard of these bot things? Yeah, they’re everywhere! Social Customer Care is no exception, as many brands are using chatbots to communicate with their customers. Chatbots allow immediate one-on-one attention and support, while also providing easy access to customer insights, such as questions that are asked the most and what responses prompt more interactions.
In Spring 2016, Sephora was the first beauty brand and one of the first major retailers to release a chatbot on Kik. The bot prompts customers to take a short quiz on things like their age, face shape and favorite products. From there, the bot is able to serve up personalized, relevant content such as makeup tips, how-to videos and product reviews. Most importantly, bots can also help brands enhance their FAQs and provide faster responses.
If you’re not moving forwards when it comes to Social Customer Care, you’re moving backwards. These examples are proof that an omnichannel approach to customer service is truly more important than ever before.
Determining which contact center to partner with can be a difficult process, especially if it is your first time outsourcing. With multiple partners to choose from, what criteria should you use to determine a good fit for your company, your program, and your needs?
Three areas to consider when evaluating your potential partners are innovation, people, and operations.
New trends and advancements are constantly appearing in the contact center industry. It’s important to have a partner that invests in these areas to ensure your program is staying as efficient as possible.
Technology: Investments in technology will make a big impact on your core KPIs. Take into account:
Customer Experience: Understand if the outsourcer is focussed on continually enhancing the customer experience. Verify that your outsourcer not only collects your customer data, but can use it to improve process, performance, and overall end-user experience.
Team Member Selection & Training: Agents require training on your program to accurately represent your brand. Verify that the selection and training process will ensure that each agent will be successful at their job.
Employee Engagement: How do they continue to motivate and delight employees? It’s clear that agent satisfaction and engagement leads to higher retention. In this spirit, your partner should be prepared to keep your team engaged.
Cultural Alignment: The partnership should feel like an extension of your existing team, working together to meet your customers’ needs. Does the partner’s goals and values align with your’s? This is vital for success.
Reporting: Are they able to generate reports outside of standard measurement that will make your program more successful? This information is important in proving ROI in the contact center and being able to show its impact on other departments in your company.
Scalability: How are they going handle your program as volume increases? If your program is expected to expand over time, ensure that your partner can grow with you. Switching partners is expensive, once it is operational, it’s easier to expand than restart.
Selecting the right partner should not be a snap decision. They are the first point of contact for your customers and will be an extension of your brand. Take the time to ensure your contact center partner is the right one for you.
In our last blog post, we talked about the importance of customer satisfaction surveys and the critical questions brands should ask themselves before they execute on the survey. This time, we’re breaking down the four main question types most commonly used in customer surveys, and what their analytical purposes are.
Tip: Each survey question should always be selected based on the strategic and operational goals of the organization, ensuring that the insights will directly tie back to the determined focus(es) of the survey.
Overall Customer Satisfaction: This question type is specific to the customer’s most recent experience. Using a rating scale from 1 to 5 (1 being “very dissatisfied” and 5 being “very satisfied”) enables a deep analysis that can differentiate varying levels of satisfaction.
Another option is to use an open ended question, allowing the respondent to summarize their experience in their own words. This helps to identify correlations between sentiment and keywords.
Example: “Thinking of your recent contact with [brand], how satisfied were you with your experience?”
Agent Specific Satisfaction: Measuring agent attributes (such as knowledge, empathy, ability to resolve the issue, etc) provides a deeper understanding of areas that have the most impact on customer satisfaction and those that require more agent training or coaching.
Example: “During your recent contact with [brand], did you feel that the agent empathized with your issue?
Customer Effort Score (CES): This score identifies the ease that a customer request was resolved. CES questions help to identify simple requests that could be self-serve options, enabling cost-savings for the brand.
Example: “[Brand] made it easy to handle my request”.
Likeliness to Recommend: Sometimes referred to as Net Promoter Score (NPS), this metric benchmarks a brand against their competitors, and is considered the best question to ask when looking to determine brand loyalty.
Example: “How likely are you to recommend [brand] to friends, family or colleagues?
CSAT surveys are an easy and cost-effective way to find out if your customers are truly satisfied, while providing the insights to transform their experiences in the future. A happy customer is a loyal customer!
Want to be a part of a winning team? 24-7 Intouch is hiring hundreds of Customer Service Representatives with competitive wages and an awesome culture to match.
Every Thursday throughout the month of October, we’ll be hosting hiring fairs at our campuses. All you need to bring is your resume and positive attitude.
Interested in joining our growing team? Check out the dates and times below. We can’t wait to see you there!
16120 Hwy 19 North Clearwater, Florida 33764
850 E Altamonte Drive Altamonte Springs, Florida 32701
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Can’t make it in person? No problem. Apply Online.
Hello Autumn! As the leaves begin to change, and the smell of Pumpkin Spice Lattes spill out the doors of your local Starbucks, we’re beginning to think of the impending holiday season. Spoiler alert – total retail sales are expected to grow from 2016, with retailers ramping up to support their customers during the busiest shopping time of the year. …
On any given day of the year, a quick Google search will bring up a dozen newly published articles on how to develop leadership qualities within yourself and others. These articles will try to inspire you to wake up at 5 am to watch the sunrise while meditating, or drink multiple glasses of cold water with lemon and cucumber before and after every meal. But here’s what those articles miss – becoming a truly exceptional leader isn’t about changing your habits. It’s about developing leadership in others, or as we like to call it in our 10 Things, “Batman Had Robin, Holmes Had Watson”.
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA. January 15, 2016 – Ryan Brummond, Director of Solutions at 24-7 Intouch, will be presenting in an upcoming webinar on February 2, 2016 with Aberdeen Group and BoldChat by LogMeIn entitled ‘Mobile Customer Engagement for Retailers: How to Move Beyond Hype to Success’. …