Raise your hands if the holiday season stresses you out? Don’t worry, I’ve gotcha. In this post, we will take a look at how to master customer service during the holidays with a breeze.
First and foremost, I am glad you are here! Congratulations you are taking an initiative to get prepared for the busiest season of the year. The fourth quarter means serious business and it shouldn’t be taken lightly, for most of us, that is when the majority of our profits are made.
Customers are increasingly adopting what I call, the ‘do it yourself approach’, in other words, customers value self-service. Data shows, that 57% of inbound calls come from customers who first attempted to resolve their issue on the company’s website.
This is why it’s so important to have everything in a good shape before the holiday madness starts.
Have a game plan in place. Take a moment to understand what your holiday season looked like in previous years. It’s important to know when to expect holiday spikes, so you can plan out the rest of your workloads.
If this is your first holiday selling season, seek out mentors who can help you understand what’s it like to run an e-commerce business during the last four months of the year.
Be sure to have all the important information written down, so customers can easily search for the information they want on their own. In case of last minute changes, be sure to send an email letting customers know of the recent changes immediately.
Pro Tip: It’s always better to underpromise and overdeliver. If you replay to customers outside of office hours, in their eyes you are practically a hero (with a cape).
Check your online presence
Make sure your accounts do not look outdated. There is nothing more off-putting then inaccurate or misleading information.
Update holiday information such as extended hours, shipping policy, and other important details that you think customers may find helpful.
Set up auto-responders
Auto-responders are timesavers, literally and figuratively. Add auto-responders to your store for questions that do not require your attention such as hours and refund policy.
Update your contact and 'about me' pages
Address common questions and add links to self-help Q&As, so your customers don’t have to contact you unless they have to.
Create Q&A templates
Two weeks leading up to Christmas, make sure to have all the necessary information handy from emails to Q&As. Have everything ready so you are ready to tackle questions with the ‘copy and paste’ approach with small changes if need be.
This is also where blog posts become convenient. Publish a blog post with the most typical customer questions and answer them in detail (include links if you have to). Share the blog post on all your social media channels, on Facebook (pin the post to the top), so everyone can access it right of the bat.
What to do when you don’t offer phone calls
Make sure they know that they are in control and you do everything in your power to help them. Reassure the customers that you are confident that the problem can be solved via email, but if the email fails to solve the problem, let them know that you are happy to call them. If the customer keeps persisting on a phone call right from the start, you may want to offer a live chat as an option to a solution.
How to handle refunds
The best way to avoid refund questions is by having a clearly written out refund policy that is accessible via all platforms that you are active on.
How to handle stressful customers
Customers get stressed out over the holiday too. That’s why it’s super important to understand how to approach angry or unsatisfied customers in the best possible way – always use positive language to de-escalate any type of situation.
Pro Tip: Do not take what is said by stressed and/or angry customer personally.
Record what you learn
Keep an e-commerce diary throughout Q4. Record everything that can be helpful for the future of your e-commerce business. Take notes of things you’ve tried and didn’t work and vise versa. The holiday rush can easily become this giant blur, a diary will ensure that you don’t miss an important detail or event when you go back and take a look at your notes in the future.
Do the right thing
You will come across customers that have needs and wants that your company can’t provide. Anytime you come across someone who is looking for a specific product or a design that you don’t offer and you know of someone who does, ALWAYS do the right thing, even if it means helping a direct competitor. There goes the saying, ‘People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.’ – Maya Angelou
With that said, satisfied customers are your lifetime customers. Treat everyone how you’d want to be treated yourself.
Take time to recharge
Holidays are no doubt stressful, make time to recharge and rejuvenate, you don’t need to be connected 24/7 to run a successful business. Aim to disconnect for 1-2 hours before bed (no social media, email or any other notifications).
Regardless of your experience, you can always improve your practices for the holiday rush. Now would be a good time to start, simplify, organize, and document every detail and get prepared for what is to come.