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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : April 04, 2014

Why brands need to re-focus on customer service

In e-commerce, as in all industries, the companies that focus on fostering relationships with their customers see positive results. It might seem obvious, but once a business concentrates on customers rather than their website - they see repeat business. Being a brand that people can connect with on a personal level helps you stand out.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Why was customer support such a factor over the 2013 holiday season?

Sam Boonin, Vice President of Products, Zendesk: End-of-year holiday shopping brings an influx of new customers and revenue, but all that volume often results in a simultaneous dip in customer satisfaction. This past holiday season, retailers experienced a six point dip in customer satisfaction due to poor staffing allocations. A key reason for this dip was the volume of tickets outnumbering available agents, which was even higher this past season compared to 2012; this imbalance resulted in customers feeling neglected and unhappy throughout the holiday season. The central issues seem to be retailers not properly predicting the higher-than-normal flood of customer service inquiries while also not implementing effective self-service resources where customers can help themselves online. When customers are not properly supported, no matter the season, satisfaction is going to drop.

Kristina: What can retailers do now to begin making up for the missed opportunities during the holiday season?

Sam: Start experimenting with staffing while you are in a slower season. The holidays are a critical time for business and when November rolls around, most retailers aren't prepared to deal with the influx of customer inquiries. Retailers need to have the right level of extra support ready so that they can maintain, or increase, their level of customer service satisfaction during this make or break period. This doesn't always mean hiring more people - retailers can test what approaches make their customer service team more efficient or implement self-service portals before the holiday rush. Knowing this information before an unexpected influx of ticket volume will help your team pull off a successful holiday season.

More from Sam and Zendesk next week, including his top 4 tips to improve customer service now for the 2014 holiday season.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: customer service, customer service tips, ecommerce, online customer service, Zendesk

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