black friday retail

4 Tips for Providing Speedy Customer Care This Holiday Season

November 21, 2018

Rush, rush, rush…when it comes to the holidays, lately it feels like there is almost no place to fit in “holiday” anymore! Most of us find ourselves stressed out as we run against the clock to find the perfect gifts, decorate, and attend holiday festivities—and that’s in addition to our full-time jobs!

Retailers can be our heroes during this time of year—making deliveries as promised, having stock of that hot toy-your-kid-has-to-have-but-is-sold-out-practically-everywhere, and of course, offering us those amazing deals.

But how can retailers really impress during this busy season? They can provide quick and efficient customer care. Because when you need that last minute gift delivered, there’s nothing worse than waiting on hold and having to repeat yourself (over, and over, and over…). When retailers optimize their customer care, it enables us — as customers — to  get our issues resolved and move on to the next present at hand without missing a beat. In a survey that Interactions fielded around retail customer care experiences during last year’s holiday season, speed and efficiency surfaced as prevalent themes around what customers want and how they qualify great customer care.

So what tips can retailers use to make 2018 retail holiday customer care even brighter and keep their customers content?

1) Don’t keep people waiting

There is no doubt that waiting is one of the biggest pain points for retail customers. Around 59% percent of people surveyed said that their wait was either “too long” (21%) or they “wished it had been shorter” (38%). Research also supports that retail has the lowest threshold for waiting compared to other industries like healthcare and finance — meaning customers are likely to get frustrated even more quickly when it comes to retail customer service.

2) Resolve issues quickly and efficiently

When it comes to the top characteristic of great retail customer care, 65% of respondents said “quick resolution of [the] issue.” Understanding customer intents accurately and effectively routing customers to the best representative to help them lets customers get on their merry way as quickly as possible. This also allows agents to move people through the queue quickly and take care of issues more efficiently.

3) Let people help themselves

Allowing people to complete self-service tasks is a great way to let customers save time and get tasks done when and how they want. Whether it’s making a call after the kids go to bed or stealthily chatting online on the train during your commute to find out when a package will arrive, people don’t mind helping themselves. In fact, if offered the option to resolve an issue via self-service, 68% said they would.

4) Take customers off repeat mode

Repeating an inquiry over and over again is one way to waste precious time – especially when people are trying to sneak in a quick call, SMS, or online chat in between wrapping presents, walking the dog, or yes, even while they are working. “Having to repeat an inquiry and information multiple times to different representatives” was the number one pet peeve of respondents (49%) when qualifying poor customer care. The second? “Agents who are not knowledgeable” came in at 23%. If an agent has to put someone on hold to find out the answer herself, it leads to lots of wasted and unproductive minutes for both the business and the customer.

With the increased demand for customer care during the holiday season, there is bound to be some waiting. But whatever retailers can do to decrease the wait and offer customers ways to get things done quickly and efficiently is one of the best presents of all! The good news is the survey also showed that retailers are generally excelling at maintaining the quality of their customer service throughout the year—even at peak times like the holidays. So keep up the good work this holiday season (but don’t overlook opportunities to take your customer care to the next level whenever possible)!

Want to find out what else retail customers had to say? Download our free eBook “Seasonality and Retail Customer Care” below.

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Seasonality and Retail Customer Care

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