Black Friday is facing a reckoning. According to a new report by Deloitte, every age group, from seniors to Gen Z, prefer Cyber Monday over Black Friday for deals. Smart devices and the allure of hassle-free shopping versus waiting in lines have made digital platforms much more tantalizing for consumers. Heavy discounts before the holidays and a growing sense of apathy for Black Friday may also be leading to this gradual shift.
That’s why winning Black Friday this year will take more finesse and appreciation for the sensitivity of the consumers than the previous holidays. Therefore, we’ve laid out some customer experience tips for the holidays that can help make your CX stand out.
Have customer associates ready for anything
Before all else, there needs to be a strategy. The Black Friday rush will involve a lot more than customers coming through your door. Bad weather, data breaches, and website crashes can all throw a stick in a wheel that is moving very, very fast. The result of these situations hitting on key shopping days can be catastrophic for understaffed customer sales and service agents who already face high volumes.
That’s why it’s important to be aware of potential surges and peaks with a CX (customer experience) partner that is ready for rapid responses and emergency contact center support. Leaders need to assess the gaps across operations, training, and technology in their customer service. Here’s what we recommend you begin with:
- Optimize your learning and training
- Update your knowledgebase
- Deploy technology and innovations
- Implement AI (artificial intelligence) and chatbots
- Create a surge playbook
Giving back matters
The main motivation for shoppers during this season will always be the deals, but a chaotic rush to buy trendy items, traffic, and the stress put on retailers, has left a bad taste and driven many shoppers online. That’s why several organizations have taken the opportunity to make Black Friday about giving back.
We’ve seen this at the woman’s apparel store Cuyana, which will donate an item from their collection to their partner H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Ease Abuse Trauma) to help those recovering from domestic abuse for every purchase on Black Friday. Or Zappos’ annual Pawlidayz weekend, where every year they sponsor different cities’ pet adoption programs during the Black Friday weekend.
There are colossal impacts organizations can have on consumers when they create unifying experiences that go beyond sales. Like how we explained the importance of creating moments that matter, meaningful events are important for drawing in large crowds. Use the holiday rush to show that values matter to your organization and it’ll speak loudly to your audience.
Messaging needs to be a priority
Black Friday will be a mixed bag of brick-in-mortar, online, and everything in-between as consumers buy, exchange, and request help over different channels. But one element that will stay consistent during every experience is the use of mobile devices. Consumers are using messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to chat with one another in unprecedented numbers, and organizations need to meet them there.
The roll-out of platforms like Apple Business Chat allows for direct messages with a human brand representative via iMessage through entry points such as Maps, Siri, and Safari. Brands will have a prime opportunity during the holiday to provide easy, 24/7 customer service to customers who are stuck in an in-store queue, can’t make it to stores due to busy schedules or have trouble accessing a computer.
And the beauty of messaging for Black Friday is the chance to have authentic conversations between users and associates over devices they feel comfortable with. As major companies continue to adopt messaging platforms, don’t be afraid to encourage your customer-facing associates to use emojis and GIFs to brighten up someone’s shopping experience.
Get ready for Black Friday and the Christmas retail season
Black Friday is constantly evolving as customer expectations continue to take shape with today’s values and technology. What leaders need to recognize now is how to take charge and expect the unexpected.
That’s why TTEC can help you discover more ways to fight moments of surge and get the customer experience seamless today, before the holidays are knocking on your door. In the meantime, take a deep breath before the busy season and we’ll see you on Black Friday!