While the holiday won’t be as fraught as the 2020 season, there will still be a fair share of challenges and obstacles to hurdle. That said, proactive steps in solidifying your brand’s customer experience (CX) strategy and protocols will help keep the cheer levels high, jeer levels low and set a wonderful brand precedent for 2022.
While many seasonal shopping, dining and socializing norms have resumed, the challenges presented by the pandemic continue to create significant disruptions. With ongoing delays and shortages throughout the supply chain, the best, most effective way to mitigate some of these challenges is to establish well-designed, integrated and communicative customer experiences. Transparency, communication and proactive solutions are able to go that extra mile even in the event of an unexpected complication with an order or service.
Let’s check out some clear ways to deliver exceptional customer service in an extraordinary holiday climate.
Why Holiday Customer Self-Service Matters
According to Adobe’s Digital Insight Report, online shopping is expected to top $200 billion for the first time in history. While e-commerce continues to gain significant ground, Accenture does report that shoppers are also looking forward to in-store, in-person experiences once again. They estimate that up to 70% of digital natives, “Gen Z”, are looking forward to shopping in-store while 46% of all shoppers will be buying online. The same report finds that 43% of consumers are expecting fast and free shipping. Furthermore, 70% of consumers expect the curbside pickups or pay in-store with home delivery options facilitated through self-service expected. The acceleration of customer self-service and customer experience dictated by the pandemic might feel fast, furious and overwhelming. Yes, these new trends are comprehensive, but so are the available CX solutions that address the desires of the modern shopper.
With so many variables and options now available for the consumer, customer service delivered through a stellar omnichannel strategy can provide not only the best CX for shoppers but also ease stress and proactively arm your CS teams with crucial customer information during this busy time.
While customer support teams are just one facet of the consumer CX journey, they are critical in providing a much-desired human touch for shoppers. Whether in-store, live chat or on the phone, this is true year-round, but even more paramount when stress levels and expectations are particularly high during the holidays.
Dedicated self-service software tools are powerful allies for your customer service agents. These tools and solutions are another important facet in the overall customer journey. Chatbots, FAQ pages and downloadable product manuals serve to empower the customer with self-service options that provide swift answers to questions and unburden team members, allowing them to dedicate time to more complex issues.
How to Provide Quality CX During the Holidays
The customer journey is often multi-faceted, potentially transitioning from browsing online, to going in-store to check out a product, to then maybe going back home and purchasing via the website. A direct purchase is not as prevalent as it used to be and the customer can literally journey from home, to store, to a device in the car, back to home in a matter of only a couple hours. “Journey” may feel like an overused buzzword but that’s exactly what the customer is doing, journeying; moving between different locations, different channels, and different devices when shopping.
The most effective way to ensure that excellent service is being delivered at each stop along the way to an actual purchase is to implement a unified omnichannel experience augmented with CX automation. Meaning, you can easily assist your human support teams while providing a quality customer experience by integrating automation software into your omnichannel strategy. With 59% of customers acknowledging that the pandemic has increased their service expectations, strategic use of human and automated support can lead the way to robust brand health into the new year. But what exactly are the specifics of automated tool function?
Review Your List, Check it Twice
Customer self-service is able to deliver information and complete basic transactions without the need for a human specialist. These tools are a wonderful addition to any brand experience as they can provide a faster response time and be available to the consumer 24/7. When combined with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, you can generate thoughtful responses, via chatbot, that feel personal and are effective resources for the customer looking for a quick response. However, AI doesn’t possess the same level of understanding as a human being which is why the combination of both is the winning recipe.
7 Customer Self-Service Examples
We’ve broken down the top customer service tools for imparting great CX.
- CRM for Customer Context
- Auto-Reply Email
- Order Status
- Downloadable Content
- Product Information
- Proactive Communication
In addition, social media platforms have been an increasingly popular channel for consumers. Social customer service is a fantastic way to engage with customers in a visible, transparent way. Evolving beyond a social connection point between friends and family, social media platforms have become a dominant vehicle in the retail space.
Therefore it’s key to include social media as part of your brand’s overall CX strategy. According to a recent Statista study, as of 2021, 82% of Americans have a social media profile. This ongoing uptick in social media usage presents an unprecedented opportunity for brand access and engagement.
In the age of screenshots and sharing capabilities, keeping your social customer experience tight means making sure all bases are covered and employing a few key strategies:
- Ensure prompt response times
- Unify marketing with social customer care
- Maintain branding with a consistent tone of voice
- Deliver on customer follow-up
- Utilize social software tools
- Don’t silo your CS teams
Delivering the Full Package
Unifying your customer support strategies with consistent, on-brand messaging and functions will impart stand-out CX. Ensuring your customers enjoy their journey from any touchpoint will create a positive outcome, especially at this time of year when expectations are heightened. . Leverage the challenges of the past two years by delivering the full package to consumers. Want to learn more about how customer self-service can transform your customer experience during the holidays? Check out how Kustomer powers intelligent self-service.