One of the busiest retail events of the year, Black Friday is a golden opportunity for consumers to score deals before Christmas. For retailers, Black Friday is a chance to gain new customers and strengthen brand loyalty. Even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide supply chain disruption, which continue to have a significant impact on retailers and shopper behavior, Black Friday 2021 is expected to bring in a record-breaking sum globally. As such, customer conversion and retention is now more critical than ever. Contact centers, and the Black Friday customer support that they provide, will play a significant role in driving customer satisfaction (CSAT) and building brand loyalty, and will therefore be a lifeline to many retailers.
Black Friday and the customer experience
Originally, Black Friday was a single day of highly promoted sales. Now, Black Friday has grown to span several days, even weeks for some retailers, in order to increase sales. The retail phenomenon has also given rise to Cyber Monday, a 24-hour event of exclusive online deals, created to encourage consumers to shop online. The bottom line? The more chances there are to sell, the more chances to win over, or win back, customers.
In the run-up to Black Friday, consumers are already planning what to buy, researching which brands provide the best deals. Some consumers are able to fill virtual shopping carts in advance, so that when the big day arrives, they will be able to purchase what they want, and have a seamless experience with no issues. The reality though is not always so simple.
Due to high demand, low stock is a common occurrence among other potential problems. This means that not everyone will have a great experience, leaving consumers frustrated, perhaps angry. As a result, during and after the sales bonanza, consumers might need to contact retailers about their orders. For instance, to track down missing orders, to amend orders, to request returns, or even to complain.
The importance of great customer service
73% of people say that customer experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions. This is because when consumers feel valued, they will be more likely to recommend the brand, and make repeat purchases. As it happens, an exceptional customer experience has the power to turn a bad experience into a great one. Therefore keeping CSAT high is the key to strengthening brand loyalty and ensuring repeat customers.
Knowing that great CX is vital, how can retailers ensure their contact centers are prepared for the Black Friday rush?
How to deliver effective Black Friday customer support
A Scalable Contact Center
High contact levels can make it difficult to bring continued delight to customers. As such, retailers must take steps to provide great experience at scale, and be prepared to meet unexpected demand. On Black Friday, customers expect a reliable service. However, it is not cost-effective for contact centers to have heightened service levels all year round, just to be able to handle a few days of high service demand.
Cloud-based contact center services are key to meeting high demand effortlessly. With cloud technology, retailers can scale up when necessary, and continue to deliver vital customer support from any location. Once retailers have the ability to scale services, the next challenge becomes actually responding to the increased level of interactions. Deploying AI-based agents to manage the simple questions, such as “when will my product be in stock”, enables agents to use their time more effectively, and gives retailers the means to meet customer expectations.
When contact center services are in high demand, longer wait times can seem inevitable. This is especially true for consumers contacting retailers by phone. Nevertheless, consumers expect to be able to contact a retailer quickly and easily, and receive a great service regardless of channel.
Reduce waiting times and abandons with a digital channel shift. Promoting additional routes to the information that customers need allows traffic to be diverted away from the busiest queues, reducing waiting times. Not only does widening the channel portfolio allow agents to service multiple queries at once, which lowers contact center costs, it offers consumers greater choice, allowing them to contact organizations however they prefer.
For most organizations, a digital channel shift is already underway. In fact, 75.6% of contact center workers predict an increase in contacts handled via social media. Being ready for a digital channel shift means greater CSAT and channel coverage, so it is important for retailers to start creating touchpoints with customers on digital channels.
Right place, right time, right channel
After scalability, when demand spikes, First Contact Resolution (FCR) is the next priority for any retailer’s contact center. Retailers must be able to provide a satisfactory resolution to a consumer first time in order to avoid wasting resources and to keep CSAT high.
With an intelligent IVR that leverages skills-based and personality-based routing, it is simple to route consumers effectively. Consumers are matched with the best available agent – one with the right knowledge and skills to answer their query. Having a Workforce Management (WFM) solution that routes calls to the best qualified available agents is a critical part of effective contact routing, as it ensures the right agents are scheduled to work at the right time, on each channel.
Providing a convenient route for customers to access information is also vital for FCR. Through self-service, such as chatbots, customers can access knowledge resources and be directed to FAQ pages on websites.
How Content Guru can help
Deliver excellent Black Friday customer support with storm®, Content Guru’s contact center as a service (CCaaS) solution. storm® is the best in the industry for high volume customer engagement. As a cloud-based solution, storm is highly reliable, and smoothly handles unpredictable spikes in contact demand. storm’s virtually limitless capacity in the cloud provides unmatched scalability to organizations worldwide, wherever and whenever, even in the face of major disruption.
At every stage of the customer journey, across every channel, storm delivers personalization, through powerful CRM and data aggregation abilities. With storm, and its intelligent IVR, omni-channel routing, and WFM capabilities, your business can ensure customers reach the right agent, on the right channel, at the right time.
Learn more about how Content Guru and storm have helped other retailers cope with high demand seamlessly.
 Wunderman Thompson, Peak 2021, 2021
 pwc, Experience is everything: Here’s how to get it right, 2018
 UKCCF, ‘What will customer service look like in 2029?’, 2019