Jul 23, 2020 7:45:00 AM

How retailers can reduce customer service enquiries during peak season

 

Retailers across the globe will already be preparing for the high demand of peak season. But what can they do to prepare their customer service teams for the challenge?

 

It’s no secret that peak season offers retailers a huge opportunity to increase sales and maximise revenue. But this year more than ever, retailers want to retain the customers they acquire during peak season. Rather than using incentives to win one-off customers, retailers are aiming to create lifetime brand ambassadors. The companies that can pull this off will reap significant rewards. Harvard Business School found that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits from 25% to 95%. 

 

So how can retailers achieve this? According to Microsoft, 96% of consumers worldwide say that customer service is an important factor in whether they’re loyal to a brand. So, to keep customers coming back after peak season, retailers need to uphold the same high standard of customer service, even on their busiest days. But peak season can cause a huge strain on support staff. To combat this, a growing number of retailers have reinforced their support teams with new customer experience technology. 

 


Learn in our joint webinar how to meet your customers’ expectations of instant service:

 

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Strengthen your support team 

 

Retailers have identified omnichannel support as a solution to the overwhelming influx of customer enquiries throughout peak season. Using online communication channels can take the strain off customer teams in-house. And the benefits don’t end there. Adobe reports that companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies see on average 10% growth YoY, a 10% increase in average order value and a 25% increase in close rates. So, what does this new technology do, and what problems can it solve for retailers? 

 

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Proactive communication

 

To reduce customer service enquiries during peak season, retailers should first remove the need for it. By communicating proactively with customers from pre-dispatch to delivery, retailers provide customers with all the information that they need. In effect, they answer the customer’s question before they have the chance to ask it. 

 

Using post-sales communications technology, retailers can send bespoke, informative and branded messages to keep their customers informed. To do this successfully, retailers should reflect on their own sales journey to identify milestones in which they need to communicate with their customers. They can use data to prioritise these milestones. At what stage in the customer journey do they receive the most calls? What are the calls relating to? What issues do their customers highlight the most? In understanding this, retailers can provide a communication workflow that better suits the needs of their customers. 

 

Once your touch points have been planned, you should consider how to make them as informative as possible. Adding relevant, valuable detail to each email will improve your engagement rate and reduce customer service enquiries.

 

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Example: Track and Trace page  

 

Sending an order confirmation is considered standard procedure for most retailers. But, are they maximising this customer touch point? Instead of simply reviewing what the customer has ordered and when it will be delivered, why not add more detail?  

 

A Track & Trace page, or Order Status page, is a customised landing page that provides customers with instant, real-time details about their order. Post-sales customer experience platforms offer Order Status pages as a fully branded and white-labelled integration into an online shop. Customers’ individual data is used for a highly personalised and relevant experience – enabling up-selling and adding product reviews. This product is available in multiple languages and is integrated with Google Maps. 

 

Using an Order Status page will help reduce your inbound call rate because it provides customers with specific details about their order, its delivery and any real-time updates as they occur. Customers are confident that any changes will be communicated to them proactively via the Track & Trace page, so they do not feel the need to call in.

 

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Online support  

 

No matter how many emails you send, there are always going to be customers with questions. A huge challenge for retailers is that customers worldwide now expect instant answers. According to Statista, when asked what their number one frustration with customer service was, 12% of Americans said, “lack of speed” and 27% said “lack of effectiveness.” 

 

Historically, retailers have advised potential and existing customers to call in with queries – but that’s exactly what you don’t want during peak season. The best way to ensure customers don’t call in is to give them a more appealing alternative. 

 

To do this, many retailers have started using AI technology and chatbots. Nuance revealed that 67% of customers prefer using self-service support rather than speaking to a company representative. And this trend is growing, with Gartner reporting that up to 40% of all customer interactions will be automated by 2023.

 

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How does it work? 

 

Chatbots allow instant self-service support 24/7. They can automate repetitive support tickets by fetching specific information about a product without any manual work. Most importantly, it allows a lot of queries to be resolved almost instantly. Additionally, using chatbots allows customer support staff more time to focus on specialist queries.  

 

Once integrated, chatbots will work across all devices. No matter the technology your customers use, chatbots can be accessed at any time. What's more, they can be integrated with your existing software by either connecting to a live-chat or creating a new ticket in your CRM system. This means chatbots can be implemented quickly and easily. Simply identify the most frequent requests that your team receives, provide their solutions and the provider can do the rest. 

 

Once integrated, retailers can use chatbot data to gain a better understanding of their customers and their most common queries. This information can be used to make positive changes to their app, website and email communication. Because of this, companies using chatbots have reported an increase in customer satisfaction and a decrease in customer enquiries – even throughout peak season.

 

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Utilise technology for the best service experience

 

Accenture reports that 87% of organisations recognise that traditional experiences no longer satisfy customers. In order to change how customers communicate, retailers must first change how they do. Communicating proactively with customers and giving them the information they need in advance will reduce inbound enquiry rates. Driving customers to chatbots or social media support rather than calling in will take a huge strain off customer service teams, especially during their busiest times. More than that, it will leave customers with a positive experience of your business. Customers will feel confident to reuse and recommend your service, again and again.

 

parcelLab is the world’s leading Operations Experience Management (OXM) platform. We enable brands, online retailers and B2B distributors to regain control of their end-to-end customer journey. Rather than letting third parties like DHL, FedEx and DPD communicate with their customers, businesses can retain all touchpoints in a curated manner, within their own ecosystem. We thereby close the CX gap in the post-sales customer journey. To improve your brand experience, provide proactive customer care and maximise your cross and up-selling capabilities, visit www.parcellab.com/en today.

AUTHOR

Laura is a Content Marketing Writer in parcelLab's UK team. She's there to create clear, forward-thinking content that adds value to retailers. When she's not working, you can usually find Laura reading books, watching plays or tending to plants.