Despite the Black Friday phenomenon being just a few years old this side of the pond, businesses and consumers across Europe are taking advantage of Cyber Week deals like never before. While not as zealous as our US counterparts, perhaps, this sale season is now a firm fixture in the calendars of European consumers eager to bag a bargain and is being viewed by retailers as the kick-off to the peak holiday season.
However, before they send those Black Friday deals live, retailers should make sure they are set up to cope with the uplift in customer communications that will inevitably follow. European customer service tickets and enquiries in recent years have increased by up to 50% over the Cyber Week period, according to our Zendesk Benchmark Data.
That means customer service agents are likely to be swamped with inbound enquiries about price points, stock availability, delivery times, returns policies and more. Those able to listen, empathise and act – responding in line with customer expectations and in their preferred communication channel – will gain loyal brand ambassadors going into the peak holiday shopping season. But those that fail to engage consumers in the right ways, will see empowered shoppers quickly take their business elsewhere.
Read on for our Black Friday Top Tips…
Plan carefully to ensure you’re maintaining a great customer experience standard
Last year the average number of customer tickets raised reached its peak on Cyber Monday – an average of 55 tickets per agent in 2018 – whilst customer satisfaction fell to 77% on the same day, according to our European Benchmark data. And despite the number of tickets customer service agents had to cope with rising between 2016 and 2018, customer satisfaction dipped by 0.6 year-on-year.
Businesses can learn from this data and set themselves up for success:
- Consumers desperate to stock up on discounted goods may reach out to you on the nearest channel at hand, so be prepared to respond to customer enquiries via a range of communications channels, including live chat, social media feeds and messaging apps.
- Those rushing to snap up a limited offer, might prefer to answer their own questions. Make sure your FAQ content is bang up to date and that consumers can self-serve wherever possible. This is a win-win, relieving pressure on time-poor agents, while giving customers a better experience.
Don’t miss out if you’re a B2B business
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are typically associated with consumer shoppers, businesses are increasingly looking for a similar experience and are keen to take advantage of companies offering B2B deals. Last year, for example, Flixel - a company that develops apps - offered a 30% discount.
However, our B2B Benchmark data from the past three years also indicates a trend towards a ‘peak season’ of support enquiries during the Black Friday week, with average tickets per agent increasing by nearly 10% during Cyber Week vs. the week before.
- By integrating data sources from different communication channels, agents can immediately view any previous conversations that have been had with that company, helping them to be more proactive with the service they offer and to forge ongoing business relationships.
Empower your customer service teams during peak periods
According to recent research from IMRG, 97% of consumers surveyed state that a poor experience in customer service changes their future buying behaviours. With customer satisfaction taking a dip during Cyber Week, it’s clear that retailers need to go above and beyond to maintain their high standards of service during this busy period.
- Technology alone doesn’t create your brand’s customer experience. To get the best results, combine it with a strong culture of empowerment for your teams. Do you need to plan for more agents over the Black Friday period? How are you training your teams and building a strong brand voice with them? Whereas your technology can help you understand your customers better, it’s important that you combine this with a culture of empathy and support for agents.