The holiday shopping season is here, and you need to be prepared for customers to reach out to your business in a number of ways. In 2017, 60% of customers reported reaching out for customer service at least once during a one month period – and a significant percentage accessed customer service repeatedly.
What are the most popular customer service channels?
The most popular customer service channels are phone, email, and online chat. Roughly half of all surveyed customers identified one of these three channels when asked what was the easiest way for them to get the information they needed quickly.
It’s important for business owners to have systems in place to answer inquiries, during business hours and when your store is closed. Many business owners address this issue by having inquiries forwarded to their cell phone, but that only addresses part of the issue. There are other customer service channels to pay attention to, and they’re becoming increasingly relevant.
More than a third of customers report they use social media, texting, or in-app communications as their first choice to connect with businesses. This can mean any number of things. For example, on social media, a customer could make a customer service inquiry by posting on your page, leaving a comment on a post you’ve made, or by sending a direct message. Facebook lets customers know how responsive businesses are to customer inquiries, so it’s important to have systems in place to address them quickly.
Have a plan to handle the holiday surge in customer service inquiries
With the busiest shopping days of the year nearly upon us, it’s important to make sure you have a plan in place to cover all customer service inquiries. Forwarding everything to the owner’s phone can work – at least until you have more calls than you know what to do with. Take the time now to figure out what you’re going to do in that situation. Splitting the responsibility with managers and key employees can help alleviate everyone’s workload while ensuring every customer is being answered promptly and correctly.
Don’t forget that technology exists to solve problems. Chat bots can be used to answer routine inquiries, such as store hours or location, and will seamlessly transfer inquiries to a live person once they’ve reached their limits. Autoresponders can be used to acknowledge inquiries and let the customer know someone will be back in touch shortly – a smart solution for busy businesses who have limited staff.
Need more information on how to make your holiday customer service better? Get in touch! We’re here to help.