Why Retailers Need an Omnichannel Support Strategy Next Holiday Season
With the busiest retail season of the year behind us, it’s the perfect time to assess performance and reflect on opportunities to improve and ensure an even more successful holiday season in 2018.
The holidays always bring with them the highest ticket volume, as customers reach out to businesses with a flurry of questions around returns, password resets and more. In fact, one Zendesk study found that ticket volume can go up by as much as 42 percent for retailers.
To further explore holiday customer service trends and takeaways, we dug into data by taking a look at Zendesk ticket volume data from over 5,800 retailers around the world. What we found can help guide your customer support strategy in 2018.
Growing Customer Expectations
As you might imagine, there was a drastic rise in ticket volume between December and January. This increase is seen across all channels: 49 percent for email, 92 percent for chat, and 106 percent for talk. Twitter support ticket volume nearly doubled, and Facebook support ticket volume increased more than threefold. We see this steady rise year-over-year, too. In total, our retail customers saw 64.6 percent more contacts this December vs. last December.
These findings demonstrate the rise in popularity of social support channels like Twitter and Facebook, and are a clear indication of the increasing expectation customers have for efficient service. Customers expect businesses to meet their needs, no matter how they choose to reach out. What’s more, each channel requires a different approach. It’s important for support agents to understand the nuances of each channel in order to effectively communicate with a less-than-pleased customer.
The Importance of Omnichannel Support
With customer expectations growing and ticket volume increasing across all channels, it’s crucial to meet your customers where they are. This is precisely why omnichannel customer support — i.e., offering a consistent support experience across a spectrum of channels — is increasingly something that companies view as part of their baseline offering. Omnichannel customer support meets customer needs across channels, according to the customer’s preferred communication style. Identifying the optimal omnichannel customer support strategy for your company is critical for a successful holiday season, and the proof is in the pudding.
Companies that have deployed omnichannel customer support with Zendesk:
- retain, on average, 89 percent of their customers;
- increase 9.5 percent in annual revenue year-over-year; and
- decrease 7.5 percent in cost per contact year-over-year.
Companies with disjointed support systems:
- retain, on average, 33 percent of their customers;
- increase 3.4 percent in annual revenue year-over-year; and
- decrease 0.2 percent in cost per contact year-over-year.
Based on these numbers, it’s not hard to see why omnichannel customer support is now standard in retail and beyond. As customer expectations grow, companies want to be able to reach out for support across a variety of channels.
These expectations rise during the holidays, making it crucial to have an omnichannel solution tailored to your organization. This means planning for your staffing needs in advance, responding to customers in their preferred channel, and understanding the nuances of each of those channels. All of this creates much more positive experiences for your customers, especially during the busy and stressful holiday season.
Ryan Nichols is the general manager for Zendesk Talk, a call center software.
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