As the countdown towards the golden quarter and major retail milestones, like Black Friday, is on, many businesses will be busy taking steps to plan and cater for increased consumer demand. But while ensuring shelves are stacked and advertising campaigns are prepped will be a top priority for many, how many businesses have prioritised preparing their customer service team for potential peaks like those to come?
Being able to provide high-quality customer support is a vital component of keeping consumers happy. However, businesses can’t simply rely on their usual offering during peak times when customer enquiries surge. They need an accessible, scalable, and flexible system, capable of managing an influx of queries.
We surveyed in-house customer service professionals at large businesses on the types of customer service support they have in place. We found that only a few companies have invested in processes that could be needed to cope with peak periods such as the golden quarter. The research showed that just 38% of in-house customer service teams currently offer 24/7 customer service or support outside of regular working hours. Providing out-of-hours or round-the-clock support can be critical for coping with enquiries during peaks and ensuring that customers have sufficient access to support.
A need for greater support was a recurring theme indicated by the research, with just 18% of in-house professionals stating that their team offers multilingual customer service. Given that almost 10% of the population in England and Wales don’t speak English as their main language, cannot speak English well, or cannot speak English at all, providing customer service in multiple languages can enable a greater number of customers to access the right support.
Providing the right platforms
Meanwhile, investment in assistive technologies that lessen the burden on customer care teams and speed up response times during peaks, such as chatbots, was low. Our research saw under a third (27%) of in-house teams claim the technology is available to support them.
The adoption of multiple communication channels such as WhatsApp, live chat, and social media was also limited. Just 28% of in-house teams utilise multiple customer service channels, which could provide customers with greater flexibility to access support in a way that best suits their needs.
Outsourcing capacity or seeking strategic support
We know that many businesses will be keen to keep customers happy during the all-important pre-Christmas period. But without the ability to handle increased customer enquiries, such as general questions, return requests or delivery issues, in an effective manner, businesses could risk compromising their reputation and customer retention this golden quarter. If you’re looking to up your customer service game this golden quarter, get in touch.