How spending on CX can help win during the holiday season
Neil Russell-Smith Head of Marketing EMEA at TTEC
As we experience this year’s Black Friday, it is amazing that last year consumers in the UK, according to IMRG, spent £1.49 billion online on the day of Black Friday alone, and the sales revenue over the period has continued to grow. It is fact that Black Friday deals have transformed holiday season retail in the UK.
One of the major factors contributing to this is a growing adaptation of technologies such as artificial intelligence that has made it possible to personalise the customer experience like never before. This has set a huge precedent for the retail sector as customers expect great experiences and if you are not delivering it, they will go elsewhere. That’s why winning in the holiday season this year will take more finesse and appreciation for the sensitivity of the consumers than the previous holidays. Therefore, we’ve laid out some customer experience tips for the holidays that can help make your CX stand out.
Giving back matters
The main motivation for shoppers during this season will always be the deals, but chaotic rushes to buy trendy items, traffic and the stress put on retailers has left a bad taste and driven many shoppers online. That’s why several organisations in the UK have taken the opportunity to make Black Friday about giving back.
For example, the jewellery brand Missoma has teamed up with Tree Sisters, a women’s environmental charity, that offers to plant one tree for every order. Or Pieminister, who last year donated 100 per cent of its profits for each ‘black pie’ to Shelter, a charity that assists those struggling with homelessness.
We’ve seen for ourselves the impact organisations can have on consumers when they create unifying experiences that go beyond sales. Similar to meaningful campaigns we highlighted during the World Cup, events like Black Friday will draw in incredibly large crowds. Use the holiday rush to show that values matter to your organisation and it’ll speak loudly to your audiences.
Messaging needs to be a priority
Black Friday will be a mixed bag of brick-in-mortar, online and everything in-between as consumers buy, exchange and request help over different channels. But one element that will stay consistent during every experience is the use of mobile devices. Consumers are using messaging apps like WhatsApp to chat with one another in unprecedented numbers, and organisations need to meet them there.
The rollout of platforms like Apple Business Chat will initiate direct messages with a human brand representative via iMessage through entry points such as Maps, Siri and Safari. Brands will have a prime opportunity during the holiday to provide easy, 24/7 customer service to customers who are stuck in an in-store queue, can’t make it to stores due to busy schedules or have trouble accessing a computer.
And the beauty of messaging for Black Friday is the chance to have authentic conversations between users and associates over devices they feel comfortable with. As major companies continue to adopt messaging platforms, don’t be afraid to encourage your customer-facing associates to use emojis and GIFs to brighten up someone’s shopping experience.
Have customer agents ready for anything
But before all else, there needs to be a strategy. The Black Friday rush will involve a lot more than customers coming through your door. Bad weather, data breaches and website crashes can all throw a stick in a wheel that is moving very, very fast. The result of these situations hitting on key shopping days can be catastrophic for understaffed customer sales and service agents who already face high volumes.
That’s why it’s important to be aware of potential surges and peaks with a CX (customer experience) partner that is ready for rapid responses and emergency contact centre support. Leaders need to assess the gaps across operations, training and technology in their customer service. Here’s what we recommend you begin with:
- Optimise your learning and training
- Update your knowledgebase
- Deploy technology and innovations
- Implement AI (artificial intelligence) and chatbots
- Create a surge playbook
Be prepared for Black Friday and the Christmas retail season
Retail extravaganzas and seasonal periods in the UK are constantly evolving as customer expectations continue to take shape with today’s values and technology. What leaders need to recognise now is how to take charge and expect the unexpected.
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