The holiday season is fast approaching. This means the shopping season is also just around the bend. Did you know that small and mid-sized retailers enjoy an increase in sales towards the end of the year and that 20 to 40% of their annual sales are recorded in November and December?
Things around the store can also get a little bit crazy before Halloween, and by the time Black Friday and Cyber Monday arrive, shopping comes in full swing.
Now the question is this: Is your customer service ready for the holidays?
Here are some suggestions we came up with to help you prepare for this season:
1. Know the trends and update your inventory.
Consumers always look for something new and something exciting to give-away. What items are considered “hot” these days? Consumers will look for these items so make sure you have it in your store. It is always good to stock up on inventory that people will likely buy and not find anywhere else.
2. Boost your marketing campaigns by offering pre-holiday and holiday promotions.
Customers get excited when they have something to look forward to in every purchase. Be aggressive over competition. You may set-up a wish list corner or organize small parties and events. Offer free gift-wrapping services or delivery options. Customers may also appreciate flexible payment terms during the holidays when household expenses shoot up.
3. Hire additional staff for the holiday season.
Extra hands will come in handy when the holiday shopping sprees start. You would want your customers to be attended to right away, and you would not want to be caught undermanned when this happens. Find people who share the same vision for the company and passion with your products.
4. Empower your customer service representatives.
Whether old-timers or new employees joining the boat, they need to know in advance the following: running promotions, products highlighted during the season, and items that are currently not in inventory. These pieces of information will empower them as they tackle sales and after-sales concerns.
5. Strengthen your holiday customer service channels.
When there are more people shopping, it follows that there are more questions and concerns that need to be addressed. You can strengthen your holiday customer service channels by setting up live chat for quick responses, add social media managers to be able to answer messages. You should also boost your phone support because a lot of customers still prefer to talk to someone, and update your site with FAQs and contact details.
6. Optimize your store for better search engine visibility and user experience.
Let’s face it: more and more consumers now turn to the internet to hunt and shop for gifts. Putting up an online store is futile if your customers cannot find your products. Optimize your site to make sure that it’s visible in the search engines, and visitors clearly understand the buying process. Optimization takes weeks or even months, so better start with your SEO and User Experience testing even before Halloween.
7. Social media is your friend.
Utilizing social media is an easy and inexpensive marketing strategy. Customers are easily reached through social media, and if they like what they see, they will spread the word for you.
The holiday season is the best time of the year for most if not everyone. Thus, it is also the perfect time for you to take advantage of the season. Do it right and make your business customer service ready for the holidays.