You're probably wondering what this year's holiday season will be like. After all, the whole world is confused for obvious reasons. You should know that Christmas will come anyway but in a slightly different form.
Data shows that 73% of holiday shoppers will make their purchases mainly online, regardless of a potential return to lockdown. What's more, most of them don't plan to reduce their expenses. So, holiday shopping is still in the game.
It's no surprise that customers will have additional questions about products or services. As many as 62% of them will choose email as a way to communicate with companies for customer service.
If you believe the predictions, you can expect innumerable emails to reach your inbox over the holidays. When you're dealing with multiple email messages at once, you can't stay focused. It’s easy to get stuck or lose sight of what matters.
Your customers are aware that you'll have more orders or questions to answer this season, but don't expect them to completely understand. Plan on how to give the right amount of attention to customers who prefer email. Get your inboxes ready for the higher volume of messages. As a result, your customers will get their dream gifts, and you won't go crazy.
Use existing email-related data
If you've experienced several holiday seasons, you're in a good situation. You have insightful data within your grasp. You can use it to go the extra mile and provide a superb customer experience.
Let's dig into the existing customer service information.
Check out the last year's trends to know what to expect for this holiday season. For example, if you're an ecommerce store owner, you're most likely to focus on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Transactional emails that are sent during the Black Friday period have not only high open rates but also higher response rates due to purchases made.
Verify email statistics related to the volume and type of emails during the holidays. Analyze the reports available in your customer service tools, and review your inboxes. Use existing data to answer the following questions.
Draw conclusions from the data, and find patterns in customer behavior. Thanks to that, you'll have a game plan for this holiday season.
Prepare your action plan
Before you start getting emails, consider what questions customers may ask. Prepare all marketing and sales materials, and make them visible. Remember that your customers are at different stages of the customer journey. This means that you need to put a little more effort into adjusting your resources. When you hand all the necessary information to your customers on a silver platter, this will reduce the number of incoming emails.
Make sure that help documentation and knowledge base are up-to-date and have relevant information. They must be easily accessible to your customers so that they don't have to waste time searching for them.
Update product pages, and add missing information about your offer, returns, or exchange policy. Address the most common customer questions that haven't been answered so far. Place them on your FAQ page.
Define your expectations for the customer service team. Agree on a suitable response time during the holiday period. Inform your customers when the support team is available (working hours).
Finally, if your calculations show that there will be a lot of traffic on your website, equip yourself with helpful customer support tools. For example, you can switch from an insufficient inbox to comprehensive help desk software.
After a few minutes of configuring it, you can manage all types of messages in one place. They are converted into tickets and contain additional customer data. The help desk system keeps your team at its best and helps your agents to solve customer cases smoothly.
The ticketing system can be a game changer for you this holiday season. Every $1 you invest in customer experience elements gives you a return on investment of $3. Start planning to deliver outstanding customer service that clearly pays off.
Create teams for one type of emails
If you already know the needs and concerns of your customers, you can build expert teams on this basis. Create teams in your help desk software, such as customer service, sales, technical support, to assign responsibilities related to emails. Consider the expected email volume for each team.
By creating teams, you can spread out the responsibility. Everyone will be aware of their duties and solve the customers’ issues at the drop of a hat.
Team members can support each other, work on complex customer cases, and exchange information using private notes. Supervisors can also track important customer requests and respond directly in an email if necessary.
Plan the work of your agents during the holiday season. Make sure agents have submitted their requests for days off so you can plan out your schedule to make sure every shift is covered. Schedule all shifts so there's always someone available to handle the email communication.
Manage multiple inboxes with ease
You can create custom inboxes for any business purpose, such as sales or support. Dedicated inboxes help you to prioritize emails better and distribute customer requests to the responsible teams. The problem can be when it comes to managing these inboxes.
Are you annoyed by switching between inboxes? Do you experience a fear of missing an important message? Get rid of that feeling right now.
The help desk software allows you to handle multiple inboxes in one place so you easily see all your messages. There's less chance of miscommunication. You don't have to forward emails to add someone to the thread. Everyone is on the same page and has access to all of the emails at any time.
You probably create contact forms on your website for many of your business goals. Half of marketers say onsite forms are their primary source of leads. Each completed form can result in an email message in the inbox or a ticket going to the help desk software. In the ticketing system, you can create many custom contact forms for each team. Because of this, the message will always be in good hands without having to forward it.
Categorize incoming emails
Try to segment your inboxes based on request type like technical issues, complaints, etc. or through subject, keyword, or priority. For example, if you're going to run a holiday email campaign, you can create a separate email category based on this specific goal.
Email categorization will speed up your response time and determine the order of answering customers' emails. You can also use built-in categories available in each inbox. Treat them as folders to organize your emails.
In the help desk software, you can add tags to each customer request. In this way, you can group your customers based on their questions and needs. Create a set of tags tailored to your goals, e.g., complaint, feedback, sales, support, request, refund, return, etc.
What's more, you can find messages with a common theme and filter them out. Check and see if emails have the same subject, issue, tag, responsible person, team, or priority. With help desk software, you can create views based on filters. As a result, you always have the important emails at hand.
Automate the repetitive emails
Boost your daily work with automation. It's considered a megatrend for customer service in 2020. Automation can save a lot of time for your support team, especially during the holiday season. It guarantees precision, streamlines support processes, and reduces mistakes caused by the human element.
Use your help desk software to set up automated workflows. You can send links to FAQs or your knowledge base along with reminders, confirmations, follow-ups, satisfaction surveys, or order details without lifting a finger. Also, you can ask your customers for feedback to identify the good and bad parts of the service you’re providing.
Does automation sound complicated? I swear it's a piece of cake.
All you have to do is go to the help desk software, choose the conditions to be met, and the actions to be performed. Activate the workflow, and that's it. Leave the rest to automation. Remember to test the automated workflows before the holiday season.
How many times during the day do your customers ask you similar questions? Replying to these types of messages can be time-consuming and inefficient. Free your team from answering the same questions over and over again. Use well-known email templates or canned responses and respond to any email with one click.
Canned responses are pre-defined content with ready-to-use answers. They're one of the most-used features of help desk software. Keep them updated to make the most of them. You can also add suitable content, such as holiday-related words, to make your canned responses more attractive.
Last call to organize your emails
Now you know how to optimize your emails during the holiday season. Try to categorize and prioritize your work to increase customer satisfaction. Remember that better email management in the customer service department means better customer relationships. Prepare yourself well so that the next peak period isn't stressful for you and your customers.
Constant Contact and LiveChat have partnered together to share content that benefits Constant Contact users with their online marketing.