A gloomy economic outlook has left many with a distinct lack of holiday cheer. However, now is the time for businesses to pull on their jolly pants and deliver a more joyful customer experience.
Squeezed incomes mean shoppers will rein in their spending, and consumers will look for better service deals. Don't let margins be the Grinch that steals your Christmas.
The customer experience is fast becoming the main reason people choose to buy from a business. Yet, research shows that 80% of companies say they deliver a 'superior' customer service, while only 8% of customers thought the same about those companies.
We believe the customer experience is everything. How you make people feel will be this season's smartest strategy to win and keep customers. Christmas isn't a season, it's a feeling.
At insight6, we partner with hundreds of happy clients to improve the customer experience and transform businesses. Here, we share tips to make your customer experience shine this holiday season.
Six simple ways to sprinkle some customer experience magic
1. Engage and empower your team
Your employees play a pivotal role in service delivery. Have a clear service plan and communicate it regularly to your team.
The festive period can be a stressful and busy time. Understand the work pressure that squeezed deadlines, increased footfall and sales can bring on service delivery. Regularly check in on staff wellbeing.
80% of the UK's workforce work in customer-facing roles. Sadly, research shows that more than half of customer-facing staff have faced abuse from customers since the start of the pandemic.
Consider what to do when things go wrong. Empower your staff to act and fix problems and handle complaints cheerfully.
Disengaged staff do not go the extra mile for your customers. Think about the best ways to recognise and reward great service.
2. Manage customer expectations
Christmas is a busy time of year for everyone. Encourage frontline staff to be honest to avoid over promising and under delivering.
Handling new enquiries effectively can make or break a sale. Understanding your customer journey will help you to engage staff, prepare for the unexpected and polish your frontline service.
Customers may look for alternative ways to get in touch or complain, such as webchats, email and social media during busy periods. Make sure your staff and outsourced service providers are ready.
Delays can't be helped but you can turn a potentially frustrating experience into a pleasant one. Make hanging on the telephone joyful, switch traditional hold music to upbeat festive favourites.
After a busy year, everyone looks forward to a break. Be clear about your opening hours, ability to deliver and shipping deadlines. Don't forget to put your out-of-office on and include a seasonal sentiment.
3. Create WOW moments
WOW moments are memorable experiences that you create for your customers by exceeding their expectations. Delighting your customers will help turn them into loyal fans and keep them coming back.
First, do what you say you are going to do. If your service delivery falls short, you can still WOW customers when they complain. Empower staff to tackle issues, say sorry and offer suitable compensation.
Christmas is the season of giving. Offer something your customers didn't know they needed. Look for ways to WOW with an upsell or make small gestures that show you pay attention.
- Send handwritten Christmas cards.
- Carry their shopping bags to the car.
- Remember names of spouses and kids.
- Donate to a cause close to their heart.
- Offer discounts or free delivery.
- Send a bottle of their favourite tipple.
4. Draw on past experiences
An effective way to prepare for the holiday season is to draw on past trends. Review data and customer feedback from past seasons.
Look at enquiries, sales, returns, complaints, reviews. Spot when you first saw an uplift and when things started to return to normal. Demand data such as this can help you prepare and plan for what might come.
The more data you have, the better prepared and more strategic you will be. Don't just consider quantitative data. To improve the customer experience and create WOW moments you need qualitative data.
Mystery shopping is a wonderful way to see the business through the eyes of the customer. Repeatedly asking for feedback will enable you to understand what you are doing well and show what can be improved.
Remember, if you've invested in data and customer feedback, be sure to use it. Many businesses collect valuable information but many more fail to act on it.
5. Optimise self-service for higher satisfaction
Self-service is about enabling customers to answer their own questions whenever possible.
One of the easiest ways you can do this is through the content on your website. Make sure your content is correct and easily accessible. Spread some holiday cheer by adding festive imagery.
Create seasonal FAQs which can be added to your homepage to quickly answer specific Christmas related questions.
Another fantastic way to help with customer self-service is a conversational virtual agent. Live chat and outsourced telephone answering services can support you to meet increased demand.
6. Commit to service excellence
Engaging your employees is critical to business success. Training and developing your staff on the customer experience process is essential so that they can see things from the customer's perspective.
A word of caution, having an ill-thought-out customer experience strategy can be more damaging than not having one at all. Managing and implementing feedback is a crucial part of the process, therefore working with the right customer experience partner is imperative.
At insight6 we understand that feedback is data, not judgement. We use feedback and the experience of our local customer experience specialists to deliver workshops that inspire and motivate teams.
Are you ready to transform your business?
Giving an exceptional customer experience can be challenging during the peak periods like Christmas.
Unfortunately, customer demands and expectations don't decrease during this busy time. In fact, they are far more likely to skyrocket!
With the tips shared in this article, you can take essential steps to make your customer experience shine this holiday season.
But the customer experience is for life (if done right), not just for Christmas. Repeatedly asking your customers or clients, and staff for feedback is critical to building loyalty and driving profitability.
And that's where insight6 comes in.
Our total feedback tool, instant insight, along with our team of local experts, will transform your customer experience.
By analysing feedback from your team and customers in real-time, instant insight will provide you with actionable comments. You will also be able to generate positive customer online reviews.
In addition, instant insight enables you to benchmark your business against others within your sector.
The more feedback you receive, the more confident you will be in making great decisions for your business.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your instant insight demo with us today and take the first step to delivering a world-class customer experience.