As we barrel toward Black Friday, most eCommerce brands have their sights set on a single overarching goal: increasing sales. What many fail to consider, though, is that increased sales also equal an increase in support inquiries. If you’re not prepared for this, your call and email queues can quickly spiral out of control, leading to a spike in refunds or worse, a spate of negative online reviews.
The week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) is a critical opportunity to grow your business, not just by racking up conversions, but by turning old and new visitors into lifelong shoppers through an exceptional customer experience. According to global management consulting firm Bain & Company, increasing your customer retention by just 5% can increase your profits by as much as 25%.
We’ve teamed up with our partners at Gorgias, our preferred help desk for eCommerce stores, to share our best tips for using your customer support arm as an engine for revenue growth during this very busy time of year.
How To Use Exceptional Support to Drive BFCM Sales
Use premade responses to deal with your most frequent inquiries
In a study by DigitalGenius and Canam Research, nearly half of customer service leaders said 30% or more of their team's support tickets are easy to solve, yet repetitive. Responding to the same few inquiries over and over again eats up precious minutes that could be spent resolving more complex issues, not to mention leaving your team feeling disengaged.
Move through support tickets faster by crafting templated responses based on your most frequently asked questions. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- What’s the status of my order? Remind users where they can find their tracking code or explain how to whitelist your communications so they don’t end up in their spam folder.
- How do I make a return? Point them toward your return policy, which should be conveniently accessible on your website. You could even create a special post on your blog that takes them through the return process step by step and addresses more specific return-related questions.
- How do I use a promo code? Help them ensure the format is correct and confirm that the code is valid.
- How do I edit or cancel my order? Having clear and concise answers in place for the most basic functions on your site can help you score a lot of points with users.
Shorten your response times
Some support inquiries simply take time to resolve, but you can help make those interactions as efficient as possible by taking two key steps.
First, empower members of your support team to make decisions independently, without having to waste time going up the chain of command for every little thing. Trust your employees to make small but impactful judgement calls like making one-time exceptions to your return policy, issuing nominal discounts, and offering upgraded shipping--small gestures that go a long way to making customers happy and recovering at-risk sales.
Second, consider bringing on temporary help to meet the seasonal demand. Higher-than-normal support volumes are standard this time of year, and some long shifts and late nights are to be expected. But if your wait times are consistently lengthy and staff is feeling constantly strained to the breaking point, it’s time to shore up your staff with some additional hands to help lighten the load.
Use metrics to monitor and optimize your performance
Before BFCM week, calculate your first response time (FRT) and use it as a KPI for your customer support team throughout the holiday season. FRT is the amount of time it takes an agent to respond to a ticket, and it helps to measure your team’s responsiveness and effectiveness. If you see the number creeping steadily higher, it’s a good idea to take some additional steps to improve your help desk response time.
And response time isn’t the only metric to keep an eye on. You’ll also want to look at your resolution time, which can vary dramatically depending on the request. This number is directly tied to the quality of your support agents and their ability to swiftly and sufficiently resolve issues (which, again, promotes customer satisfaction). Combining thorough agent training with help desk features like intent detection can help keep your resolution times in your target range.
Offer a knowledge base
One of the best ways to provide exceptional service to your customers is by helping them help themselves. More than six in ten consumers say they prefer self-service tools like live chat or a searchable database for dealing with simple inquiries, like billing or return questions.
To meet this demand, develop a knowledge base where customers can easily search for FAQs, setup guides and how-to articles on topics like payment methods and shipping rules. This is a great opportunity to build more robust content you can link to from your premade responses that we talked about earlier. The more topics you can cover, the better, as long as it helps promote clarity for your dissatisfied users.
Another tactic: don’t wait for customers to bring their concerns to you. Proactively “train” your customers on your most frequent support topics. For example, are shoppers often confused by one of the features of your best-selling item? Include a handy quick-start guide with every shipment or have a video tutorial online to help them. This can be a huge time saver when the support tickets are piling up.
Be mindful of your support staff
Your support staffers are your front-line representatives of your brand, and you rely on them to create the memorable and effective support experiences that breed lifelong fans. Yet this is a huge time of year for burnout, and as the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
While taking extended time off might be out of the question during this busy time, give your staff the support they need to stay energized and do their jobs well for the long holiday haul. Prioritize breaks, distribute days off fairly, publish staff schedules with plenty of advance notice and arm them with the right resources to serve customers quickly and effectively. You might even consider incentives like performance-based bonuses to reward your top support employees.
Is an intuitive help desk like Gorgias part of your eCommerce infrastructure? If not, let’s talk about how we can use our expertise in Shopify app integrations to achieve record sales for your online store this holiday season. Schedule your complimentary consultation today.
Check out the rest of the BFCM Last-Min Strategies:
Rob's Quick Guide to BFCM: Our Head of eCom, Robert Befumo, gives unique insights on unprecedented holiday season to ensure you're prepped and ready.
Increase Your Subs By 7x: Yes. You read it right. Increase your subscribers 7x in the run up to BFCM with these copy and paste strategies for your pop-ups and fly-outs.
Smash Your Email ROI: 3 email templates that will up your email game during Black Friday Cyber Monday.
Maximize Your Site Conversions: Put your conversions into overdrive! 10 strategies you can use right now to build the foundation for a successful 2020 holiday season.
Crush Your Holiday Sales Targets: Use your customer reviews to drive sales this holiday season and beyond.
Grow Your Sales With Process Automation: See five areas where you can employ automation to simplify your operations, save time, and boost sales this holiday season.
High-Converting Templates for SMS, Facebook Messenger & More: Use these ten templates to craft engaging, high-converting messages for SMS marketing and Facebook Messenger during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Don’t Blow Your Budget!: 10 tips to help you navigate paid media strategies this Black Friday / Cyber Monday (BFCM).