This holiday season certainly is one we will never forget due to the pandemic. The season also serves as an eyeopener for many businesses as they have to deal with the busiest shopping season of the year. Which is an additional challenge to deal with stacked on top of the current situation.
Yet there lies an opportunity for your business. You can expect a surge in online sales during the last weeks of this year as a direct result of physical stores and offices complying with COVID-19 safety procedures.
Why is self-service crucial?
Nevertheless, that could also mean bad news for businesses if they aren’t prepared for the flood of online traffic. Here is why you need to quickly review and improve self-service options for the hectic season to come. According to Gartner, 70% of customers prefer to solve issues by themselves. However, only 9% succeeds in solving their problems without having to engage directly with customer service agents.
Why self-service channels still need your attention.
A common misconception about self-service is that they do all the work for you. While it is true that your customer service team can finally catch a break, self-service only works as long as the answers are still relevant and useful for your customers. That is why you need to frequently check if what worked then, still works now.
Here is what you need to look out for:
- Is your knowledge base still up-to-date? – content with delivery estimates could quickly become outdated since the pandemic is unpredictable. Keep track of these shifts and make sure to revisit and update your articles.
- Can your chatbot handle holiday-related sales questions? – the hot topic this year was all about COVID-19 and even chatbots are set-up to answer all pandemic-related questions. But have you thought about the questions your customer might ask about the holidays?
- Have you tweaked your automated solutions yet? – Black Friday is a force not to be reckoned with. You might have adjusted your backend and connected systems to deal with this force. Now that it’s over, keep an eye out for what is not functioning anymore such as online order tracking forms.
Get rid of what doesn’t work for your customer service
Your priority should be to make self-service channels easy to use and to navigate through. The chances are high that when your customers feel overwhelmed they are less likely to reach out to your channels for self-help. Furthermore, this affects their customer experience negatively which you want to avoid happening.
Knowledge base articles for instance are great if they are still relevant and easy to find. But when your customers want a solution, they expect to find one quickly. When they don’t find the answer they simply take their questions to your live channels. As a result, your customer service team has to deal with more pressure.
Watch out for dead self-service channels
Additionally, examine what channels your customers don’t use. When you detect one then it is time to say goodbye to the channel that isn’t living up to its potential. Just make sure to transfer your content to the channels your customers prefer.
How well do you know your customer?
First of all, your customer’s behaviour has shifted greatly this year as a result of the pandemic. Their expectations are more difficult to meet yet there are things we still can predict for the holidays such as:
- No time to waste and impatient.
- Stress fueled by the pandemic.
- Customer agents have similar feelings because they can’t enjoy the holidays.
How can you still provide answers around the clock while reducing the pressure on customer service?
- Review all of your self-service channels.
- Check if the solutions you provided are still relevant.
- Get rid of channels or anything that doesn’t work or causes confusion.
- Plan for the months to follow.
- Monitor if everything flows and works together to ensure a successful holiday season and a strong start to the new year.
What happens to self-service when the holidays are over?
Have you thought about improving your customer experience now that self-service is the next big thing? This holiday season proves to be a groundbreaking learning experience for many businesses. You should think about launching new self-service channels to prevent the same mistakes.
Take a step back and think about what digital tools could have drastically cut the workload in half. Would a chatbot have been helpful to provide answers at any time?
Ask your customers about self-service
Nevertheless, you shouldn’t be guessing for answers when your customers are your most valuable source of information. Gather the opinions of your customers and ask how they experienced your customer service during the holiday season. Ask them how to turn your customer service into a pleasant and effective experience.
With a simple survey such as Customer Voice you can really discover how your customers feel about your services and enhance the experience.