Holiday season sales have been steadily rising in recent years as eCommerce purchasing, free shipping, and seamless returns have become the norm for both US consumers and shoppers around the world. This year will likely be a banner year for holiday shopping – edged to new heights by COVID safety protocols and the expected tangential increase in eCommerce spending. Salesforce expects record US and global holiday digital sales volumes, with totals to reach $221 billion and $940 billion respectively. This highwater mark will mean that roughly 30 percent of US retail sales and 18 percent of global sales for the season will be transacted digitally.
Just as digital sales will break records this year, experts predict digital returns will reach new peak volumes. UPS projects US holiday returns will peak on January 2 with 1.9 million – a 26 percent increase from last year’s peak returns day. The National Retail Federation estimates that as many as 13 percent of all holiday gifts are returned after Christmas. Overall, roughly one-third of people in the US expect to return at least one of the gifts they received this holiday season.
While most returns will be made with no questions asked, there will be a considerable number of returns that will require contact center support. There are new ways to incorporate chat communications through channels like WhatsApp into your contact center workflows to reduce call volumes, saving your business time and money and dramatically improving the customer experience.
Use chat to deflect call center volumes
Up to 80 percent of contact center incoming calls are easy-to-answer and repetitive – they are common questions and can be answered or solved with very simple explanation. Knowing that many contact centers’ most frequently asked questions can be quickly and easily answered, and also lead to consistent contact center outcomes and satisfied customers, chat call deflection and resolution solutions should be a top priority.
Clickatell’s Chat Desk helps companies add chat functionality on WhatsApp (with more chat app platform support soon to come) to the contact center while maintaining live agent support. While Chat Desk allows for contact center deflections to WhatsApp chat to answer questions, it also provides the same human touch experiences contact centers need to solve customers’ complex problems, including call management tools that give supervisors the power to have immediate access to real-time reporting and visibility into agent activity and customer escalations the customer benefits from a smarter, streamlined customer service experience.
Use chat to provide better experiences to customers
To substantively reduce costs, busy contact centers need to decrease the number of incoming calls while also maintaining or increasing customer satisfaction scores – no easy task. Integrating chat solutions to resolve customer queries more quickly and easily allows contact centers to evolve from a customer service trouble spot into a true business advantage that strengthens customer relationships and bolsters brand reputation.
Personalize the Experience
We live in a hyper-personalized world where customers are provided with ads based on their buying habits and search history, offers based on their social media likes, and greetings across their digital world that refer to them by name. The contact center offers an important opportunity to serve your customers as individuals.
Chat solutions deliver personalization during every interaction, allowing businesses to communicate with each individual and deliver a personal experience during every interaction and back-and-forth engagement. Personalized chat helps businesses create differentiation in their customer support experience. Customers see personalization as an extension of digital innovation, and contact centers that drive improved customer experiences – especially via chat – will increase customer retention and brand loyalty.
Drive Customer Experience Innovation Across Customer Touchpoints
Customers want the same experience in-store as they do visiting a business’ website on a desktop or via mobile. If they connect with a business on a social platform they have an opportunity to be recognized during their interactions with the business. While every business is in a different phase of the journey to deliver a unified customer experience, utilizing chat solutions via SMS messaging or chat in WhatsApp in the contact center can help to quickly demonstrate the customer-first approach your business needs to stand apart from the competition.
Intuitive Use Case and Anytime Response
Today’s consumers want things on their time and their terms and the companies that can deliver both will thrive in the coming decade. Chat solutions offer an ideal solution for customer support because they enable interactions 24/7. Customers don’t have to sacrifice time during their work hours to resolve return issues – they can reach your contact center and initiate a chat communication that can be continued and resolved in minutes, hours or days – there is no time limit to the chat communication, no time-outs and, of course, no dropped calls or long wait times to speak to a live agent.
More than 5 billion people actively use chat apps, with the overwhelming majority using WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or WeChat on a daily basis. Consumers spend 90 percent of their screen time on five mobile apps—with the most used chat app receiving the majority of attention. People like using chat as a communications channel and translating this use case to your business is a net positive in every way.
Holiday season is in full gear and your contact center may already be fielding large volumes for returns or exchanges. Utilizing chat solutions to solve common customer issues and lessen the strain on your contact center live agents will save your business time and money and deliver innovation and convenience to your customers.
Improve your workflows, enhance your customer experience with shorter wait times and better live agent interactions, and create a contact center that works smarter and saves money with Clickatell Chat Desk.