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How To Scale Customer Support During Peak Season

Ecommerce's holiday season entails scaling customer support effectively.

75% of eCommerce stores are concerned about the rising customer service needs during the holidays. We talk about how to handle it in this post.

The Peak Season is a stressful period for most merchants. According to a recent study, 75% of them are concerned about the rising customer service needs during that time of the year. Let’s walk through some of the best practices to make the most out this increase in customer service needs.

But first, let’s read about a customer support story that happened a while ago.

The Black Fridge Story

Dan is hanging-out in his kitchen when he realizes that his fridge is no longer working. He decides to contact the customer support team of the fridge merchant and waits for an answer. Unfortunately for Dan, this happens a week before Black Friday and the merchant team is lost under the huge spike in tickets.

So Dan waits three days before his request is taken care of by a contractor hired two days ago to help with the workload. Dan gets redirected to the manufacturer of the fridge and, also after 3 days, gets a first answer.

Dan gets into what is called ‘the maze’ and gets redirected to another person. Seven days after he first contacted the merchant, he finally gets a technician to come at his place fix his fridge. The technician comes over but realizes he need some parts to fix the fridge that take another 7 days to be delivered. The parts that arrive are not the right ones and a new order needs to be made.

It’s been more than two weeks since Dan first tried to get help and this makes him crazy. He goes back to the fridge merchant to ask for a fridge replacement and gets a response after 4 days. He gets told that replacements cannot be made as it goes against the merchant policy.

Dan starts telling the story on social media to kill the merchant reputation. The story goes viral and eventually Dan gets his fridge replaced.

Nobody wins in this story, and this terrible situation could have been avoided with a few of the coming tips.

Tip #1: Leverage support to promote your marketing efforts

What’s the open rate of your email promotions? 5, 10, 20%? And what’s the open rate of customer service messages? Probably close to 100%. So what if you made these promotions in those customer support tickets to leverage on the support you’re making?

Tip #2: Your support staff should be your sales associates

Make sure your customer support heroes provide the same experience to your potential customers as if they were physically going to a store and being advised. You’ll end up making relationships with your customers and turning them into ambassadors for your brand.

Tip #3: Create macros for the most common Peak Season questions

We pulled out the tickets of 600 customers to understand some of the most common questions that your team can expect to receive. Here are the results we got.

Those make up for 40% of your requests. You can actually prepare for it to decrease your response time. There are three ways to do so:

  1. Make sure you have one macro for each question. If you are not familiar yet with macros, check this out.
  2. Make sure your FAQ sectionis up to date to answer these questions.
  3. Set up automatic responses so they get answers straight away to these common questions.

Tip #4: Respond faster to wow your customers

People usually expect you to answer within two hours if not more. By responding in a few minutes you’ll make your customers amazed by your efficiency and will prevent them from going to your competitors. Best, they’ll spread the word on how professional you are and you might end up gaining a few more customers on the way. Here’s an interesting graph we came up with using our customer service statistics.

The repeat rate is the % of your customers who are going to make a new purchase after they already made an order. As you can see, people who already called for the customer service help and got a good experience out of it are way more likely to make a new purchase.

Tip #5: Staff to handle the support spike

You might want to hire a few temporary people to handle the spike in tickets. Bear in mind however that these guys don’t know your product so make sure to train them a few days before accordingly. Make it a rule that if one of your support guys can’t answer a question within five minutes, then it’s best for them to pass it over to somebody else, instead of rushing into giving a wrong answer and end up like Dan in our fridge story.

Tip #6: Build a wall of love to boost morale and track comment

While your team maybe be stressed out by the workload, make sure you build a system that highlights the best reviews and show them they are making people happy and doing a good work.


By increasing the number of people on your customer support team (tip #5) to handle the tickets spike and focusing on not only answering requests fast to impress them (tip #4) using of macros and other tools (tip #3) but also giving them a proper experience (tip #2), you’ll be sure to turn your customers into ambassadors for your brand but also increase your repeat rate. Make sure to also leverage the support spike by including promotions in your requests answers (tip #1). Finally, don’t forget to cheer up your team by creating a wall of love (tip #6) to let them know about the great reviews they get from happy customers.

CEO and Co-founder at Gorgias

Special thanks to our friends at Gorgias for their insights on this topic.
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