5 Tips to Keep Up Awesome CX During the Busy Season
It’s that time again. Holiday bells are ringing, and the mad rush of customers before the end of the year sends service businesses around the globe into a constant state of busyness. With so many customers to see to and a seemingly never-ending to-do list for frontline teams, unhappy customers can easily fall through the cracks. But with 1 in 3 customers leaving a brand they love after just ONE bad experience, falling through the cracks isn’t an option. Luckily, with the right strategies in place, you can ensure that each customer walks away feeling so happy that they just have to tell their friends and family about their experience, despite how busy things get. How? Here are the five must-dos to keep up awesome CX during the busy season.
1. Keep Priorities Clear & Simple
There’s enough going on for customer-facing teams without constantly changing messages from head office. Make sure your team has clear guidance on the key customer service priorities to limit guesswork.
Each frontline employee should have:
- Clarity on what your service standards are, and how to deliver on them.
- Clear KPIs at both a team and individual level.
- Access to customer feedback so they can understand what the most important things to deliver on are.
- Clear communication lines with their managers should they have questions or uncertainties.
While it’s a simple step, these things often get overlooked when things get busy. Be sure to check in with your teams on a daily basis to realign on priorities and make sure everyone is on the same page.
2. Automate Where Possible
Overwhelm can be mitigated with the right automations and technology in place. The role of customer-facing employees is to deliver exceptional customer experiences – but often, they’re unable to focus on experience as they’re bogged down with administrative work that could easily be automated.
Ditch manual processes, and consider the following automations:
- Automatic customer feedback surveys — NPS, CSAT, CES — to collect the information you need to improve the customer experience.
- Automated emails and messages to customers based on their behavior. E.g Trigger-based emails to your NPS promoters asking them for a public review.
- Utilize chatbots and AI to handle basic, commonly asked customer queries.
For every minute frontline teams spend on manual admin, it’s a minute lost on customer experience. Automate where possible to help employees put their time and energy into awesome, personalized experiences for every customer.
3. Immediately Follow Up on Negative Feedback
During the busy season, negative customer feedback can easily peak. Some see a 75% increase in customer inquiries, longer wait times, more slip ups made by burnt out frontline teams and less time and energy given to each individual customer.
While there are preventative measures you can take to reduce negative feedback in the first place, sometimes, especially during busy seasons, negative feedback is inevitable.
Here’s the thing: negative feedback in and of itself won’t make or break you – but the way you respond to it will.
If you receive negative customer feedback and don’t follow up, customers are not only likely to find an alternative provider, but they’ll tell people about their bad experience at dinner with friends or on a lengthy social media rant. Even if you follow up weeks later, the damage can already be done.
However, if you receive negative feedback and immediately follow up with the customer, you’re given a second chance to make things right. You can understand what went wrong and most importantly how you can fix it. This turns an unhappy customer about to leave a 1-star review into a brand advocate who will sing your praises, referring friends, family and colleagues.
You may be thinking, how on earth do I have time to follow up with every unhappy customer?
The answer is smart, simple technology.
To be able to immediately follow up on negative feedback, you need two things:
- A mechanism for collecting real-time feedback.
- A simple, streamlined way for frontline teams to follow up on feedback
4. Prioritize Employees So That They Can Prioritize Customers
As Entrepreneur Daisy Jing of Banish says: Balancing the needs of my employees and customers shouldn't be an issue because we have the same goals and mission. My employees are my top priority. As soon as I know they're empowered, happy and satisfied, I'm guaranteed that it will also be easy for them to take care of our customers. My team should be filled with love first so they can easily love back.
The holiday season can be stressful, and customer-facing teams often take the brunt of it. All year around, but especially during busy seasons, you should be going the extra mile to prioritize your team.
You can do this by:
- Checking In: Make sure your frontline teams are provided with a space to express how they’re feeling, get help when they need it and make suggestions to their managers. This can be done efficiently and effectively with the right frontline feedback tools in place.
- Recognition: Make sure you’re giving credit where credit is due. If you want your frontline teams to keep delivering awesome experiences (even when they’re under extra pressure), you need to show them recognition for awesome work when it happens. You can do this through personal messages, company wide shoutouts and face to face conversations of appreciation.
When you prioritize your frontline teams, you’re simultaneously prioritizing your customers. It’s an equation we love to talk about: EX → CX → Loyalty → Growth. More on that here.
5. Unite Teams and Invite Friendly Competition & Camaraderie
Although at times stressful, the month of December can be a whole lot of fun for frontline teams. It’s all about uniting, working as a team and lifting each other's spirits. One way to ignite some friendly competition and camaraderie is to hold a holiday NPS challenge among your various locations and branches. Set a timeline, some NPS goals and an exciting reward and get teams working TOGETHER on delivering awesome customer experiences.
One service brand who’s done this well is Stay Upright, an Australian-based motorcycle school that knows the benefits of high-octane activity and friendly competition. The introduction of NPS leaderboards led to more engaged instructors throughout teams. Even the lowest performing instructors had drastically improved their scores and started climbing up the leaderboard.
Don’t get buried alive by the busy season. With the right strategies in place, you can ease the workload, create awesome experiences for both employees and customers and even have a bit of fun.
Looking for smart, simple technology to help you out? Learn more about AskNicely here.
Good luck, and Happy Holidays!