These days, eCommerce is busier than ever! With people opting to shop from home rather than go into stores, there are endless opportunities for businesses to utilize conversational AI to boost their customers' experience!
In today’s wildly competitive online retail environment, brands are expected to prioritize customer support to retain long-term customers. If they don’t, the consequences for their business could be drastic. According to a recent report by Microsoft, 61% of customers have stopped conducting business with a brand because of their poor customer service. It is crucial that retailers prepare their customer support teams adequately to handle the everchanging and growing customer requests.
With this trend in mind, it is important to prepare the best you can. Below, we will go over five ways to improve the customer experience for your business!
#1. Adequately Train All Staff For What To Expect (Including Seasonal Employees When Applicable)
Many retailers hire seasonal employees to help counteract the high volume of customers during the summer or holiday seasons. It is essential that CX organizations can handle these busy periods with ease. It is about strategy and adequate training. New (and temporary or seasonal) employees should be trained and familiar with common sale-related or item-related questions. Senior-level employees can focus on the more complex, multi-layer customer issues. These senior-level employees should also become familiar with these common sales concerns to assist the new or seasonal employees when needed. Another way to handle such an influx of customers and sales is to form groups of your team members who handle specific customers or tasks. This allows everyone to be held accountable, stay busy, keep response times at a minimum, and increase specialization.
#2. Automate Everything You Can
Automation is super beneficial to booming businesses! It allows your team members to focus more on customer service than completing tedious tasks in a short amount of time. Automation can help limit the influx of volume and handle routing and escalations representing your business’s ideals. Automation can significantly enhance your teams across these categories:
- Routing and Escalation: Having the proper protocols is vital to effectively routing customers to the right specialized group of team members during even the busiest of times. An automatic escalation of high-priority tickets ensures a faster response time and minimizes the administrative hindrance on teams, thus freeing up more time for the customers. Routing capabilities help to discover and identify customer trends as they are happening and then route live issues to representatives who are best fit to handle them. As a best practice, strive to send simple tickets to new agents and more complex tickets to the more experienced team members.
- Conversational AI: Conversational AI can address the more straightforward, tedious tasks that may take time for your agents. To receive maximum benefit from these automatic agents, they should be programmed with practical strategies and balanced with live representatives’ personal touches. Also, to achieve this balance, there should be elements of self-service as well. This way, customers who prefer not to speak with a live agent can find some type of support or solution independently.
- Automated Response: Setting expectations is essential all of the time, not just for busy seasons. Setting expectations with customers and making it known that they are a priority is where all businesses should begin. Automated responses to inquiries effectively initiate positive communication and reassure customers that their tickets are being handled promptly. A simple answer confirming, reassuring, and outlining how the team will take the inquiry can go a long way regarding customer support and crafting a positive customer experience. Each business is different in how they support and communicate with its customers. However, this can be such a helpful addition to customer service processes during the busy holiday season. A significant portion of the incoming tickets are from new customers interacting and transacting with your business for the first time, so creating a positive impression for the customer can go a long way in developing lifelong relationships.
#3. Be Direct and Transparent With Customers
Direct outreach can help companies inform their customers of the high volume of inquiries your business is experiencing during peak seasons. Being transparent and open can help to set customer expectations and build and preserve trust. During chaotic retail seasons (like summer and the holiday seasons), being transparent with customers about the influx, setting expectations, and being proactive, are a few of the best places to start. Send out emails to existing customers, set those expectations, address the impending volume, and that you have hired or are continuously hiring additional staff. This helps to establish and understand the user base.
#4. Prepare Early and Ensure Your Staff Feels Ready
Contact volume for many brands spikes during peak seasons (sometimes up to 50% during the last quarter or "holiday season). CX leaders must allocate an additional headcount for seasonal or temporary employees to help with this influx. It is an excellent practice to make sure temporary seasonal employees feel comfortable and have had sufficient customer service training before being working hands-on with your customers. In order to achieve this, all hiring decisions and onboarding should be completed well ahead of peak seasons. CX managers should account for additional training time and assist these new hires in today’s remote and technologically-savvy work environment. Teams should have updated training materials and familiarize themselves with any recent changes.
#5. Use The Influx of Customer Data to Your Advantage
According to research conducted by Hubspot, 33% of customers say that they don’t like repeating information that they have already shared. Conversational AI can help your business’s response rate because customer data will be in the system and available for the next team member to review and utilize; thus, delivering the best customer experience and supporting your customer support team. Conversational AI helps to understand your customers better, keep track of past interactions or problems, and continue to build notes and relationships with your customers.
With the eCommerce industry growing each day, CX leaders should now take the right actions to adequately prepare their teams. Customer support is vital for all brands and their success. By following these steps above, your organization can effectively scale and handle the ever-growing influx of new customers and inquiries. It is crucial to achieve a balance between technology and the human touch. Personalize interactions, make customers feel valued and appreciated, and make sure your employees feel supported and equipped for any time, especially the busiest seasons.