Friday, November 6, 2015

Black Friday: 4 Tips to Avoiding a Customer Service Nightmare this Holiday Season

Ready or not, the 2015 holiday season is among us! While it may be the happiest time of the year for some, it can quickly turn into a nightmare for customer service professionals if the right measures aren't taken to ensure smooth sailing through the season. 

Some companies have been preparing for this rush since the end of summer, and rightfully so. 2015 is expected to be the "most connected holiday shopping season - ever. Almost half of holiday shopping occured online" ( "In 2014, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday set new (online) sales records with 1.33 billion and $2.4 billion spent. This number is only expected to rise for 2015" ( We can't forget about the growing trend of Cyber Monday either. Check out the infogrpahic below sharing 2014 Cyber Monday results.

Infographic with lots of graphs and statistics about 2014 Cyber Monday
Photo Credit:

These couple months are the biggest time of year for businesses to see growth in every aspect of their company. "Ad impressions get a 50 percent boost, [Click-through rates] CTRs skyrocket 100 percent, direct traffic grows 150 percent, average order values rise 30 percent and conversion rates increase 60 percent" (Entrepreneur).

With the expected spike in traffic during this season, consumers already anticipate long wait times and rude people; and companies witness customer satisfaction scores drop. But what if there was a way to keep up with the increase in demand AND maintain customer satisfaction, though? World-class brands have accomplished it, and with the right recipe so can you. Here are some tips to help your company continue to hit top sales all season, while (doing the most important thing) keeping customers happy. 

Tip #1 Planning ahead- As mentioned earlier, it is always helpful to get a head start so you aren't frantically trying to get everything set up in a short amount of time.

Yellow Road signs with blue sky in background
Photo Credit:

Tip #2 Hiring enough help- Making sure you are not under staff during the rush season has a few positive affects. (a) customers don't have to wait for busy agents, and (b) agents don't feel rushed and can help customers completely through their issues. It's a win-win situation. Happy employees = happy customers. 

Tip #3 Providing helpful resources-  With the influx in contact volume coupled with the increase in seasonal agents, proper tools and resources should be made available to agents. One resource many call centers are equipping their agents with is a Virtual Assistant, promoting efficiency and consistency to new and seasoned agents. 

Tip #4 Self-Service- As a common theme throughout this blog, mobile and eCommerce are playing a huge role in the way people are interacting with your company. Online support holds true as well. Intuitive/ diagnostic self-service options should be readily available and easily accessible to consumers via the web.

Virtual Assistant screenshot with images of laptops
Example of Interactive self-service solution (Virtual Assistant)

How is your company preparing for the holidays? Are you taking a different approach this year to account for the web? 

For more information on how Virtual Assistants help to alleviate some of the stress during peak seasons, please read "How Stand Out Brands Weather the Storm During Critical Spikes in Traffic."