Customer support data to boost your seasonal performance
Key customer support data for the holidays
The holiday season. Customer support. What do we know? We know you’re going to be crazy busy from now until January, but we have identified key data-driven insights to help you prepare your customer support team for the peak season.
The data will answer 3 important questions:
- How much of a rise in volume should you expect for the most common queries?
- When to expect the highest volume of queries?
- How many support tickets are you likely to have for every sale?
When it comes to the holiday season, we all know that message volume will increase. Knowing what types of queries, and when to expect them, will help you to prepare in advance for the most common seasonal queries. Having the answers to these questions will inform how you will structure your support processes.
Product queries take lead position as the most common query, followed by order, shipping, cancellation, returns and negative feedback.
According to xSellco customer support data, the bulk of an online seller’s support tickets are product queries – taking up 38 percent of your support team’s activities for most of the year. Over the holiday period retailers see product queries increase in volume by over 100 percent.
Manage product query volume
Product queries can include questions such as, ‘How do I use my product’, or ‘The product I ordered is different to the store description’. With product queries, you can anticipate most of your customer needs in advance. You can speed up your response times by predicting common issues that your customer might face when they receive their product.
Send customers detailed product information and user guides in your follow-up thank you message. Improve the customer experience of your store by getting into the habit of going the extra mile for your customer all year round. Equip your customer with all the resources they need to enjoy their purchase.
Make the shopping experience easy for your customer. Display product information clearly on your webstore, and on marketplace listings, to reduce the frequency of customer contact for common queries. Give your customer the independence to self serve by providing them with answers to simple questions before they feel the need to escalate their query to your support team. You can include FAQs in your product listings, or add a knowledge base on your webstore for product user guides and how-to videos.
As you might expect, shoppers get anxious about delivery dates during the holiday season. This anxiety drives a 194 percent increase in shipping-related tickets. Luckily, there are simple ways to prepare for the abundance of incoming queries.
Manage shipping query volume
When we are nearing the seasonal shipping deadline, we can predict that the rise in volume can be attributed to queries such as ‘When will my order arrive?’ and ‘What is the last date for on-time delivery?’. Prepare some messages in advance so that you can respond faster to the questions you know will arise. We have crafted five customer support templates, tailored for the holiday season, that will help you respond even faster to common shipping queries. Simply download, copy and paste the templates into your eCommerce customer support Help Desk and use them to respond faster to seasonal shipping queries.
Timing tip: Expect the peak times for shipping queries around 19 December, when customers are worried that their parcels won’t arrive in time for Christmas.
Order queries experience a significant rise of over 50 percent during the holiday period.
Tips for handling order queries
Order queries are typically associated with uncertainty over the success of the order, ‘Has my order been dispatched?’, ‘I have not received confirmation of my order’.
Let your customer know when their order has been dispatched. If you are selling on Amazon, you will need to send Amazon a dispatch notice 1-2 days after the order has been placed. Failure to alert Amazon of the dispatch will affect your ‘late dispatch rate’ and ‘perfect order score’ metrics.
On any sales channel, whether it is your Shopify, Magento or BigCommerce store, a sale on social media, or a marketplace order on Amazon, eBay or Allegro – don’t leave your customer waiting for a dispatch notice after they have placed an order. Knowledge removes anxiety, and will reduce any queries related to uncertain fulfillment. If delays are likely, inform the customer how long the process will take within the order confirmation message.
The most concerning result that the xSellco analytics team discovered was the rise in negative feedback. Last year, sellers received an average increase of 323 percent in negative feedback from customers during the holiday season.
5 Tips to reduce negative feedback
The data highlights the need to anticipate customer needs and prepare in advance for the seasonal surge of customer support requests. Let’s learn from last year’s mistakes and eliminate any possibility of damaging your brand reputation and lowering your seller score.
- Personalize your response, using the customer name and your own name – this will help your customer identify with you and your brand.
- Default to a positive tone – this suggests that the customer can expect a happy resolution to their problem.
- Remember to apologize and show your customer that you value their feedback.
- Combat any potential rise in negative reviews, by asking for feedback from shoppers who had a flawless experience.
- Avoid using negative language in your response.
Don’t let all your hard work for the past year go to waste by getting carried away with the holiday hustle – after all, your seller ratings are for the whole year round.
Holiday peak times
The peak day for customer support is 19 December. Time will be limited for getting orders shipped in time for Christmas after the busiest day for customer support, so make sure that you facilitate your team with an air-tight communication flow with your vendors for inventory and fulfillment. Remember to include tracking on every order (where cost effective) – for Amazon sellers, tracked orders are essential to boosting your performance metrics.
Support tickets per sale
The xSellco analysts discovered that, on the busiest week of the year, leading up to Christmas sellers had one support ticket for every five sales that they made. You will see from the graph below that this has increased from the normal day of one support ticket for every eight sales to one in five. Be aware that the volume slowly decreases to one ticket in seven sales throughout January.
With this information you can calculate how many support requests you might receive over the holidays based on how many sales you make.
Pro Tip: Make sure that your message reaches its destination. When sending attachments in your responses, be aware that eBay will only take image files, whereas Amazon will send pdfs and most file types. When using e-commerce customer support help desk, xSellco, you can ensure that your message gets there in one piece by tailoring the conditions to your template responses for eBay, Amazon and all your sales channels.
Bring the Holiday cheer!
People love to talk about the story behind a purchase, more than the thrill of the purchase itself, which is very short-lived. Think long term and win your customers’ hearts over with a great experience – keep them coming back for more. When you create a positive experience, people will get behind your brand. Inspire them, make them happy and be excited for their gift-giving. Be generous with your time.
By automating responses to common queries, you will free up your time to focus on creating a fully rounded welcome package for the holiday customer.