“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things”
I bet you sang it just the way Julie Andrews does in The Sound of Music. Does it already feel warm and fuzzy? Yes, here’s a cuppa really good hot chocolate. Enjoy. Nay, not really so, if you’re an online store all set to take this Black Friday weekend by storm. For most of us, each year begins with a lot of promises, excitement and plans for the year ahead. For an e-commerce business, it’s the polar opposite. Most businesses look forward to the end of the year, to find and understand ways to maximize their sales figures.
According to a recent Nielsen survey, 49% of Americans plan to start their holiday shopping before the Black Friday weekend shopping spree begins, starting on Thanksgiving evening itself. However, the survey also chalks how Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still key moments in time for making holiday-related purchases.
Neilsen also notes that the total retail e-commerce landscape is predicted to grow by 20% (combined annual growth rate) to become a $4 trillion market by 2020. This means your retail website or app is going to see great surge in traffic from shoppers, globally.
If this is not all, Mary Meeker’s report chalks out how large retail companies are moving towards becoming online stores, by citing Wal-Mart as an example.
Interestingly enough, there has been a steady 15% increase in online retail sales year over year
The report also sketches how retail store closings have risen to such an extent that they are already moving towards breaking the 20-year old record.
Yes. Global e-commerce sales are growing at an alarming rate. Alarming.
While all of this is great news, e-commerce businesses that focus more on customer engagement, need to look and re-look at how they are going to handle their engagement strategies effectively this Black Friday. Making sure customers shop and come back to them for all their shopping needs, is extremely vital.
— BookingBug (@bookingbug) March 7, 2017
The key here: Customer engagement while not compromising on productivity for those who indulge in engagement strategies, also known as e-commerce representatives. Black Friday shopping experiences are litmus tests for customers, and provide insight into how much the business cares for them.
In short, Black Friday weekends can shape or shatter your e-commerce business.
- Customers are lured by marketing e-mails or offers and land on your site following a message or a retargeted ad.
- They have already seen lot of offers pouring in from other e-commerce sites and have more questions for you, and expect instant replies.
- Their only worry: ‘have all my questions been answered satisfactorily by the right team member’?
- They do not have to understand the demographics or the psychographics of the person who is handling the conversation.
- They are already on their way to doing other things when they are shown a version of ‘how happy were you with this interaction?’ screen.
Here are some common pain-points e-commerce reps face especially during periods of high sales offerings, and more so during Black Friday:
Pain-point #1: Mounting conversations – Incessant influx of queries.
E-commerce rep experience: Prioritizing conversations.
Messages are coming in like shoals of fish and your reps are sifting through them to understand who or which message needs to be replied to right away. Is it a customer who has just pinged, or is it a shopper waiting to hear back? Can it wait or not? How to prioritize?
Usually, reps end up going through endless conversations to understand which one needs the right amount of attention and when.
Solution: Priority Inbox
Your reps are in need of an inbox in which conversations are ordered and can be filtered by longest wait time and their current reply statuses, so they can prioritize and get things going faster. They will be the first – to respond, talk to and answer questions from customers.
Pain-point #2: Conversation ownership and assignment
E-commerce rep experience: Manual assignment of conversations by supervisor in large teams or cherry-picking in smaller teams
You are a large team and are expected to handle multiple complex questions from your users. Your supervisor sits down with a bunch of team member names and workload statuses – who’s on a break, who’s online or offline, who is good at what and who is not.
Who takes ownership of what conversation? Whose expertise is most needed and where? The supervisor is sure to go nuts trying to keep track.
If you’re a smaller team, team members tend to self-assign tickets. But that also means they tend to cherry-pick tickets which are easy to resolve and avoid complicated issues or particularly annoyed or rude end-users. Result – large volume of unattended complex conversations.
Auto-route conversations based on conversation-load and skill levels
Do away with human bias and long wait times for assignment. With IntelliAssign, the system automatically assigns and distributes conversation load equally amongst team members based on their groups, availability and skill-sets, ensuring that no one is overloaded and that the time to assign conversation is now virtually zero.
The supervisor can concentrate on the one job that is expected of them – supervision.
Pain-point #3: Which department does a conversation belong to?
E-commerce rep experience:
Team members waste a lot of time scrolling through conversations to understand which department it belongs to. Endless conversation threads with no categorization frustrates a rep who wants to focus on high-impact conversations that bring out the best output.
Solution: Bid farewell to uncategorized long, lost threads
Make conversations easy to initiate by categorizing them into topic-based channels inside your widget, so customers know which department they’d have to get in touch with. Set context and the right tone with a welcome message and keep the thread accessible at all times.
Pain-point #4: Measuring a team member’s performance
E-commerce rep experience:
Team members are busy trying to ensure every customer is happy at the end of a conversation, and the supervisor needs to know how efficient the team has been, and the best way to judge, is by measuring team member performances in real-time
Solution: Real-time dashboard
Get a real-time visual summary of your team’s performance by measuring speed of response, conversation trends, resolution time, and deep dive into any team member’s workload to make data-driven decisions a breeze.
If your e-commerce business also has an app or if you’re a mobile-first e-commerce business:
Retail is physically and literally breaking barriers as it focuses on fulfilling the needs and expectations of mobile-enabled consumers. Mobile-searches containing the term ‘Black Friday’ increased by 80% over the last two years. According to Google, this is a sign that mobile researchers are likely to become mobile buyers over the four-day holiday break.
Pain-point #5: Supporting and being in touch with your customers over your app.
Solution: In-app chat support
Reach out to your users proactively, and allow your app users to get in touch with you. With Native FAQs, ensure your users can look up answers all the time, even on flaky networks. With a mobile SDK built ground-up to make supporting users better, you can engage with your shoppers in a personalized and contextual manner from wherever you are.
It’s no more only about support or only about selling, or ‘getting in touch with a representative over a particular channel’ to get an answer or sort an issue. It’s a conglomerate of needs such as sales, marketing and support, and very few apps provide an experience that addresses all these needs. Freshchat is one of them. Get in touch with us this Black Friday – let’s make more business!
Happy Black Friday Weekend!