E-Commerce: Is Your Customer Support Team Ready for the Holiday Season?
Updated: Jun 17, 2019
The last quarter of the year is make or break for many e-commerce retailers. It’s the big holiday push. And if this year is anything like the last few, too many e-commerce firms’ customer support teams are not sufficiently staffed up to maintain that amazing customer experience they have worked so hard to perfect. That’s because the holiday season hits e-commerce firms the hardest, with studies concluding that customer service volume can increase up to 75% during the October to December time period. Why’s that? E-commerce spending has been growing rapidly every year, with 2018 topping out at $2.8T, a 22% increase from 2017, according to eMarketer. And if the expectations are correct, the 2019 holiday season is expected to break last year’s record...by a long shot (see chart below). Is your company ready to handle the influx of customer questions? To handle the increase, it's crucial that your customer support team is staffed appropriately.
In the Ovum Global Customer Survey, they asked participants to choose the top two things organizations could do to improve their customer service:
“#1 Providing easier access to support channels on the web (social media, communities, and live chat).”
E-commerce customers not only want multiple channels to reach out on, they expect it in 2019. A recent study found that 55% of customers have a more favorable view of a company when they respond on social media. Traditional forms like email just aren’t fast enough and don’t quite satisfy customers who are worried about their holiday orders. Think about adding live chat or text as an option, but be sure you have the appropriate team to handle it!
“#2 Faster agent response times”
Response times generally fall during holiday months - the exact time when people most value a quick response. People buying gifts for family members and friends want answers now and you need to have the right sized team to provide speedy, accurate responses. The most common question during the holiday season: “Where is my order?” That’s something that should be directed to a Level 1 team that handles the easy questions. Save the hard, complex questions for your Level 2, in-house team. So how quickly do customers expect a response? Let’s take a look...
So what should you do to get ready for the rush? Getting ready for the e-commerce spending rush starts well before the holiday season kicks off with Thanksgiving. It means taking action now to prevent you from scrambling to find support when customer inquiry volume spikes.
To get ready, e-commerce companies need to…
Increase customer support staff
Hire a Level 1 team that handles the easier, repetitive questions
Set up new support channels
Provide additional training to your CX team
The moral of the story - start preparing now for what is expected to be the largest e-commerce spending year in history. More than 60% of consumers plan to spend more than half of their holiday shopping online according to Bizrate Insights. So staff your team appropriately, train them over and over, and start preparing now.
Based in New York City, with teams in the Dominican Republic, Horatio is a leading provider of white-glove customer experience and omni-channel support outsourcing services. At Horatio, we like to say “do what you do best, and hire Horatio to do the rest.” Horatio partners with high-growth and innovative companies to develop their customer support strategy and provides a handpicked team to execute it. Horatio’s number one focus is on providing high-touch, brand-focused customer support. Our team is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and expertise to ensure a great customer experience every time.