3 ways retailers can spread CX cheer this holiday season

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It’s that make-or-break time of year; the holiday season has arrived. During this hectic period, many retail brands are just trying to hold on through the volume surge and hoping the investments they’ve made in customer experience (CX) are paying off and customers are happy.

But retailers that approach the holiday season more thoughtfully – and with an eye toward the future – will come out the other side with valuable, actionable insights that can help improve CX year-round. Pay attention to the lessons you learn this season and use them to inform decisions you’ll make down the line. If you do you’ll win over customers, have happier associates, and stand out from your competitors. 
Here are a few ways retailers can maximize the holiday season.

1. Harness the magic of your data

One of the holiday’s seasons biggest benefits (other than an influx of sales, of course)? So much data. As your sheer volume of customer interactions peaks, so does the amount of valuable data you are collecting.

Each and every time your brand interacts with customers is an opportunity to learn something. What’s delighting them? What’s annoying them? When are they most likely to shop, and how much are they spending? What’s frustrating them? There is so much meaningful information at your fingertips – don’t let it go to waste.

Use data analytics to make sense of all the data you’re collecting and identify trends. Then use it to make better, data-driven decisions about how and where to remove friction from your customer journey and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Seasonality is a great test of a retail brand. The insights you cull from your data now, during the busiest time of year, likely will illuminate challenges and opportunities your brand is facing not just now but year-round. 

Once the rush of the holidays is over, it’s important to take a hard look at what your data reveals. What can you learn that will help you throughout the year and during the next holiday season? Your data can tell you a lot; you just have to know how to listen. 

Data is abundant during the season but it’s critical have to people who know how to analyze and act on it. Many brands lack this expertise in-house, so working with an experienced partner can help.

2. Spread joy faster with automation

Everyone’s in a rush around the holidays, and one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get customers what they want quickly (and take some of the burden off your associates) is through AI and automation.

Once your data tells you which parts of the customer journey are frustrating to your customers or associates, look for places where automation can remove some of that friction.

Empower customers to resolve simple inquiries and requests on their own with self-service tools. Customers increasingly prefer this, and it frees up your associates to focus on more nuanced and complex interactions. Thoughtful automation leads to higher CSAT and greater loyalty.

The right automation will also make your associates more productive. Employ AI tools to compile post-call summaries, optimize knowledgebases, and make other improvements that enable your associates to work more efficiently. This will make them happier and facilitate faster resolutions: a win-win.

3. Think beyond the present with proactive solutions

CX isn’t something you can invest in once and then leave on autopilot. It takes continual honing and re-evaluating to stay on top of what’s working, what isn’t, and what changes need to be made. It’s never been more important to have a proactive (and reactive) partner that can make changes in real time, understands seasonality, and has deep-rooted expertise in support models.

Once the craziness of the season passes, don’t let the lessons fall by the wayside. Take what you learn and use those insights to guide your CX strategy going forward. Use the calmer, off-peak times of year to implement changes and improvements to ensure next year’s holiday season is even better.

Keep examining your customer journey – this is always time well spent. A deep understanding of this is key to identifying proactive solutions that will remove friction points before your customers even notice them.

If you’re not sure where to begin, a CX outsourcing partner that specializes in retail can help you identify and implement the strategy, technology, and people you need to deliver a seamless customer experience throughout the year. 

To learn more about how retailers can make the most of this holiday season, check out the latest episode of our “What’s in Store” video series.