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Holiday retail and the omnichannel customer experience

By Katharine Crane

Last updated November 8, 2021

For much of the world, the holiday season starts in the fall and ends with a few New Year’s resolutions in early January. For retailers, it’s almost the opposite. Come January, you in the retail world are assessing how the just-passed holidays went and starting to plot the course for the next season.

The holidays are a year-round priority for the retail industry. Many companies make the lion’s share of their annual profits in a short several-month period. And the customer is counting on companies to excel on all fronts during this brief but critical period. It can be a matter of getting an extraordinary gift into the hands of a loved one. The retailer may never meet the person their customer loves, but in some ways the retail raison d’être is making sure every recipient feels joy.

The big challenge: Customer requests for support tend to surge dramatically over the holidays, in-store or online. At the same time, shoppers are ever more conscious of a retailer’s overall customer experience. Omnichannel customer service is a must. Customers have increasing service expectations for the channel of their preference, not to mention the benefits of a seamless customer experience both in-store and digitally. What’s more, ticket surge will vary by channel. A seamless experience for the customer is increasingly linked to omnichannel retailing.

In our recent report, 4 Crucial Trends for the 2018 Holiday Retail Season, Zendesk examined data from retailers all over the world. We drew some compelling conclusions around the imperative of omnichannel use by retailers. How quickly you first get back to the customer is directly linked to customer satisfaction, for one thing. As you might expect, there is a clear trend of ticket volume increases across all channels in November and December. Ticket volume year over year has climbed dramatically in each channel–for newer channels like Facebook and Twitter, it’s explosive. When ticket volume surges, disjointed customer service systems fail; first-reply times and CSAT scores both take a hit. These findings relate directly to how omnichannel can benefit consumers.

We find that an omnichannel retail experience is a critical path for shoppers, in-store or online, to be satisfied, no matter what time of year, and even as ticket volumes inflate. It’s one more way for a company to be customer-centric, and it’s a must for everyone aiming to be best-in-class.

Read the full report to learn more about how every retailer can start preparing for a successful holiday season with an omnichannel strategy.

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