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How AI can make an immediate impact for retailers this holiday season

Are you ready for the holiday rush? Learn how AI can help your customer service team deliver great CX this season.

By Nazli Camlibel, Contributing Writer

Last updated September 28, 2022

For shoppers, the holidays are a time to be merry—with cash registers jingling and ecommerce booming. But this year, the golden quarter between October and December comes with a lump of coal in the retail stocking. Supply chain woes, understaffed teams, and changing customer behaviors are combining to create the storm of the century.

How can retailers get ahead of the new challenges that face their CX teams during the holiday season? It comes down to working smarter—and that takes AI. Read on for our top tips.

5 ways for retailers to manage holiday ticket volume spikes with AI

  1. Use data to define your AI strategy

    AI is only as powerful as the data it has to work with. It starts with the mountain of information you have at your fingertips: who your customers are, their status with your company, common requests, and how they like to engage with your business based on their requests. When you analyze that data, you can use it to better understand your customers and identify areas to strategically add AI and automation across the customer journey. Additionally, you can use this data to detect patterns that can inform how you staff both now and during peak times.
  2. Strengthen your knowledge base

    The foundation of great AI is a solid knowledge base. In order to automate on your behalf, AI needs to pull from a centralized source of content, and if it does not reflect the evolution of both your business and your customers, your self-service and automation with AI will not be as effective. Use the data you have to better understand the types of requests that are coming in. You can use this information to strengthen the content within your knowledge base, create the content customers are looking for, and surface it at the appropriate time in the customer journey. This empowers effective self-service and supercharges your automations with AI.
  3. Automatically intercept common customer inquiries to save time for your team

    We don’t have to tell you the holidays can be challenging for your team. Spikes in ticket volumes mixed with frustrated customers and delays in response times is a recipe for poor CX. Retailers who want to compete are looking to artificial intelligence to help manage high volumes more effectively.
    When AI is implemented in retail customer service, shoppers can often get quick answers to simple questions like “Where is my order?” on the channel of their choice. You can deflect common requests with a conversational bot 24/7 and free up agents’ time, so they can focus on more complex tasks that are more interesting and rewarding.
    Tile, a consumer electronics company, implemented the Ada chatbot within Zendesk as the company began to ramp up for the holiday rush. The customer service team saw a decrease in contact volume with the chatbot almost immediately. Because Tile was able to analyze data from Zendesk, it was possible to identify trends in increased customer contacts and add relevant recommendations to the troubleshooting flow. Customers would launch the bot and it would help right away, taking pressure off agents during the holiday season.
  4. Use AI to fuel your team’s capabilities

    During the holiday season, every second counts, but not every customer service ticket can be fully resolved with AI. When that happens, AI can use the information gathered up front to escalate and intelligently route the ticket to the right agent. You can leverage AI’s powerful machine learning and natural language processing to identify customer intent and show agents recommendations on what to do next. That enables them to help your customers faster and more effectively. Plus, it frees up your team’s time and gets your customers the answers they need as quickly as possible.
  5. Use AI to set up for success, long after the holidays wrap up

    After all the packages are delivered and stockings are stuffed, you still have one last gift under the tree: insights. AI lets you streamline operations by automating triage, organizing conversations by intent, and increasing visibility on where to prioritize. Gaining these insights will help you improve operations for longer term success and consistently deliver great customer experiences.

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