What to Expect for the Holiday Season in 2023
Holiday seasoned shoppers
The holiday season snuck up on us all very quickly this year, and with it comes the seemingly neverending shopping. This can be a stressful time for everyone involved, and research says that 49% of shoppers have started as early as October, which is predicted to impact holiday sales significantly. This tasks contact centers with being especially prepared for the influx of customers making returns, asking questions and seeking help for their orders.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the way most people check off their holiday to-do’s has drastically changed. The U.S. Commerce Department reported in late 2020 that online retail sales data had increased by a little over 16% from the year previous. In 2023, those numbers are predicted to increase from 16% to 39%. Due to the convenience of online shopping, the trends have seemed to continue. As a result, the stream of online orders has significantly changed how contact centers have had to function to accommodate their customers and provide them with the best experience.
Enter Gen Z
Gen Z is often referred to as the “digital natives,” having grown up with technology at their fingertips. They have not only taken over most of the internet but are now one of the highest percentage of shoppers during the holiday season. They will bounce between apps and in-person shopping for inspiration, ordering and attainment.
As a business, providing consumers with omnichannel options makes it easier to check the status of their orders and the stock and receive notifications for alternate options. TCN provides these options seamlessly for contact centers; offering an IVR system that can best meet customers’ needs by anticipating needs through a series of self-service options. If a problem isn’t resolved, they are easily directed to an agent who knows their issue and can be even more helpful in reaching a solution. Call centers need to be prepared for the inflow of customer calls and messages, especially since 13% of orders were returned just in November and December.
Moreover, in 2023, 73% of consumers said they would likely take their business elsewhere after one bad customer service experience. This can put some extra pressure on call centers to perform to the best of their ability. Luckily, TCN provides managers with tools to understand the trends within their contact centers. Voice analytics and post-call surveys can help point out opportunities for training and methods to use in further customer interactions. These analytics also provide managers with a good understanding of how to give their customers the excellent experience they need to continue their business with you.
Social media has taken over the scene
Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms have made a considerable dent in the way people choose to shop during the holidays. Consumers are finding their ideas for gifts and decorations from feeds and influencers. It’s become essential for businesses to market in a way that can be visible on social media. It’s shown that just as many people choosing to shop through social feeds have a positive encounter as those who have a negative one. Although this isn’t great news, it yields a lot of room for growth and for companies to succeed where others might not have.
Again, the consumers with an inadequate customer care encounter can cause them to take their business elsewhere. To prevent this, contact centers should be prepared to monitor social media feeds and respond promptly to those asking questions and voicing their concerns. Monitoring customer concerns and feedback helps call centers to identify particular language so they can quickly find the issue and direct them, through omnichannel routing, to the agent that can best resolve the issue.
The stakes of consumer loyalty
As a manager, you can see how important it is to pay attention to the influx of online shopping this holiday season and the impact that social media feeds will have on this. Though we live in such a digital world, most customers still prefer to solve their problems over the phone. Customers have reported this being the quickest way to get answers and resolve urgent and sensitive issues. The holiday season can already be stressful, making it essential to have your inbound call center prepared with the latest information. It’s also crucial to encourage agents to take time with each customer so they feel valued and heard.
TCN’s cloud-based system provides the ability to incorporate a CRM database. This way, customers can be routed through multiple account information forms so that agents are better equipped to handle challenging or tense situations. More customers feel confident in continuing their loyalty to your company with an experience where this occurs.
Proactive vs. predictive
It pays to be proactive rather than predictive this holiday season. With tools cloud-based systems offer call centers, managers can better handle common trends as we near the end of the year. TCN is the ideal attendant to give contact centers the best tools to combat the issues that often arise this season. The stress accompanying the last few months of the year no longer has to be something managers face. Fixing a customer’s problem can be handled the first time around.
Omnichannel communication will increase customer experience and loyalty. Not only that, but these tools can also lower costs by predicting trends so that managers can staff their call centers accordingly, especially seasonal positions that are almost always in higher demand during the holidays. Request a demo to see how these tools can improve the stress of the holiday season.