What’s better than contacting a company’s customer service department during the holidays? Eating year-old stale fruitcake, according to 37% of participants in CMS Wire’s survey about holiday customer service. That’s right – nearly 40% of those that responded to the survey said they’d rather eat last year’s stale fruitcake than contact customer service during the busy holiday season.
Seventy-four percent of respondents said contacting customer service is more of a hassle during the holidays than it is at any other time during the calendar year.
Why does that matter?
If you want to blow your customers away with incredible service this holiday season, you’re sure to stand out among the throngs of companies offering less-than-stellar service during the holidays. It’s easy to make a mark in your customers’ minds when your company is one of the only ones where customer service is genuinely a pleasure and not a pain.
To get you started, here are 6 little changes that improve holiday customer service without much effort. Check them out!
6 Little Changes That Improve Holiday Customer Service
1. Offer more self-service options. The more a customer can do for themselves during the busiest season of the year, the fewer calls and inquiries your customer service agents will have to handle. That equates to shorter wait times, faster resolution times, and better holiday customer service in general. Self-service options might include in depth FAQ pages, simple diagnostic or solution tools, troubleshooting articles, and more.
2. Use a cheerful, seasonal greeting. Say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, whatever greeting you feel is appropriate this holiday season to greet your customers and callers. It’s one way to start the interaction cheerfully and is a common denominator between the customer and customer service agent – “Hey! We’re both celebrating the holidays soon.” Check out this article about choosing between Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays.
3. Give employees freedom to make exceptions. You can speed up resolution times, give your employees more confidence and autonomy, and increase customer satisfaction when you give employees freedom to make certain exceptions during customer service interactions. You might allow employees to waive a certain fee or return deadlines if the situation calls for it. This will leave your customers happier and make your agents’ jobs easier.
4. Consider waiving return and exchange deadlines. If you’re willing to make case-by-case exceptions on return deadlines, fees, etc., you might consider waiving those deadlines and fees altogether for the holiday season only. This serves to get each case resolved more quickly while giving your customers a clear benefit that they’ll appreciate.
5. Make sure employees are well trained. Your employees will be considerably less stressed during the holidays if they’re well trained and feel confident in their ability to do the job. Holiday customer service can be tough to navigate for both newcomers and seasoned professionals, so ensure you do some additional training before the holidays to make sure everyone is on track to provide great service.
6. Create better goals for resolution times. Finally, we’ve mentioned decreasing resolution times in a few places throughout this post. That’s because it’s truly important for great holiday customer service. Set concrete goals for resolution times based on the type or nature of the inquiry received to give yourself a good framework to work from. It will help you monitor the success of your customer service throughout the holidays as well – if you’re not meeting the goals, you’ll know it’s time to have a meeting with your customer service agents to make some changes.