Should you switch off customer support completely over the holidays? Unfortunately there isn’t an ‘open and closed’ sign you can just flip for your online store. But there are ways to manage your customer support so you can keep your customers happy and enjoy the break.
Customer support issues continue to crop up over the holidays. The impact of social media and mobile commerce have placed more onus on sellers to maintain courteous and open relationship with customers at all times.
Here’s our guide to enjoying the holidays and staying on top of customer support.
Humanize your response
The standard out-of-office response just doesn’t cut it. Customers don’t want to communicate with problem solving robots. They want to learn about you, the person.
Humour is key. So is honesty. For example, if your auto-response contains a light joke or anecdote about what you’re doing over Christmas, the customer may be more understanding and less likely to leave the process – or worse – leave a bad review.
Humanized, informal, open language with a tangible personality should be reflected across all your communications – not just your auto-responses.
Customer support ‘power hour’
It’s important to stay up to speed with customer contact, even when your thoughts are wandering to leftover turkey. You can manage your customer support without it interfering too much with your family festivities.
Simply designate an hour every day to respond to your customers and make sure you deal with any urgent issues.
Manage from mobile
Make support even easier by managing it from the comfort of your armchair. I know it’s hard to tear yourself away from a family gathering (or from watching It’s a Wonderful Life – again) but customers need supporting!
For example, our mobile ecommerce help desk app, xSellco Fusion, lets you deal with support for multiple marketplaces, organize your messages in order of priority, get instant alerts for incoming messages, easily collaborate with your support team and more.
Customers are mobile – your business can be too.
Don’t keep ‘em waiting too long
You might increase your response time over holiday periods, but customers will only wait so long.
Amazon understands this as well as anyone. Amazon usually requires you to respond to customer feedback within 24 hours. However, this year they requested that you respond within 12 hours over the Christmas period.
Decide your response times, stick to them and let your customers know what they are. This will give your customers clarity and you peace of mind.
Over the holidays, having a customer focused social media presence is a clear advantage for your business. You don’t need to go overboard. We don’t recommend being glued to Twitter while the rest of your family are opening their presents.
You can use social media to give customers important information & deal with issues quickly and effectively, before they escalate. Post your customer support procedures and contact information. Answer questions and engage in conversation when you receive queries. Post links to existing helpful content. Social media is a great way of demonstrating that you’re always listening. It could even have a positive impact on customer loyalty & sales.
You can schedule your social media posts across platforms with useful tools like Hootsuite, Buffer or Tweetdeck, so you don’t have to do it over Christmas pudding.
What holiday success looks like
Your seller rating and reputation are important factors in taking advantage of post-Christmas sales. Limit negative feedback and encourage positive reviews by staying connected with customers and keeping them informed. Plan for the unexpected and deal with situations early to prevent escalations.
Customer support doesn’t need to be your nightmare before, during or after Christmas.
Follow these best practice tips and make sure it’s still a wonderful life for your customers over the holidays.