As Black Friday hits the UK today, with retailers slashing their prices in an effort to replicate the biggest day in America’s shopping calendar, the pressure on staff in-store and within the contact centre mounts.
Traditionally a post Thanksgiving discount shopping day, marking the start of the Christmas shopping season in the US, UK retailers are keen to follow-suit, offering consumers discounts of up to 70% off today. Mega Monday or Cyber Monday – the busiest online shopping day of the year – will shortly follow on 2nd December, placing a huge stress on retailers customer service departments.
So how can retailers arm staff in-store to deal with the overnight onslaught of customers eagerly wanting instant answers to questions on a range of gadgets and gizmos they may be purchasing for the first time? Add to this the increased pressure on contact centre agents, dealing with a massive increase in enquiries via phone, web chat, e-mail and social media channels.
Being prepared for sudden increases in traffic to your store or other customer channels – whether planned or as a result of an unexpected event – will be paramount to the success of an organisation. The ability to offer customers the same level of customer service during an unusually busy period, as you would during a quieter one, will have a massive impact on a customer’s perception of your brand.
Some key stat’s to consider:
- 63% of high street retailers expect website traffic to increase by 11% on 2nd December (Source: Barclays)
- £1.3 billion predicted to be spent online on Mega Monday (Source: Visa Europe)
- 30% of shoppers plan to do most of their Black Friday shopping online (Source: Accenture)
- The percentage of online sales completed through mobile devices has risen from 0.4% at the start of 2010 to 27% in Q3 2013 (Source IMRG)
- 36% of holiday shoppers say social will influence their online purchasing decisions (Source: Adobe)
Whilst historically Black Friday sales have been predominantly via brick-and-mortar stores, the lines are now blurring, with e-commerce spend topping the $1 billion dollar mark in the US in 2012.
Black Friday and Mega Monday’s consumer is now truly multi-channel, using a combination of in-store, websites, e-mail, phone and social media channels, to research, review, make a purchase and contact a company for customer service.
Today’s retailers are under great pressure to not only compete on price but also compete on delivering a cost efficient and seamless in-store and online customer service that can cope with spikes in demand.
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Providing today’s consumer with a 24/7 multi-channel customer service – regardless of which touch-point or device they use – can be a key competitive differentiator.
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