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      25 Simple Ways To Boost Holiday Sales on Your Website


      The holiday season is a critical time for retailers, with some making a good chunk of their yearly revenue in just a couple of months.

      And while 2020 has been a proverbial “lump of coal” for small business owners, with many having to pivot to curbside pickup or go digital with their services, there’s good reason to believe that we’re on the cusp of a [insert your holiday of choice] miracle.

      As we covered in our 2020 Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping guide, consumers are very eager to spend money on some holiday cheer this December. And you should use that to your advantage!

      Below, we’ve outlined 25 tried-and-tested tips for boosting your online sales this winter. Our advice falls into three main categories:

      So are you ready to tie a bow around 2020? If so, read on to find out how your online store can get more traffic, increase sales, and improve customer experience this month.

      Your Website’s Home for the Holidays

      We make sure your website is fast, secure, and always up during the holiday shopping season and beyond. Plans start at $2.59/mo.

      On-Site Tweaks

      1. Optimize your copy

      This applies to every page of your site — from your homepage to your About Us page, and of course, your all-important product pages:

      • Detailed product information
      • Persuasive copy
      • Trust factors
      • Calls-to-Action

      These are all things that can boost conversion rates, sales, and revenue. Plus, they’ll help you all year round — not just during the holidays.

      Not convinced? Think of it this way.

      When you’re in a shop, you can look, touch, and feel a product. Depending on the product type, you can often try it on or play around with it.

      What’s more, a store’s physical presence creates trust, while sales staff are on-hand to assist customers and encourage them to buy.

      All this is lost when shopping online.

      Use your online copy to recreate the in-store environment online.

      2. Streamline your checkout process

      Long, fiddly online checkouts can be a massive barrier to sales. Especially since more than half of internet shopping now takes place on mobile.

      If your checkout process asks for too much information or offers a poor user experience, you’re going to lose sales — period.

      A good place to start with streamlining your checkout is to test, test, and test again.

      Ask friends or family who are unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of e-commerce and internet marketing to do a test purchase (you can either ask them to complete a purchase and then cancel it or simply not go past the entering-your-payment-details stage).

      Then, ask for their feedback:

      • How simple was the process?
      • What, if any, problems did they run into?
      • How does your checkout process compare with other sites they shop from? Ask for specifics — not just “compares well” or “doesn’t compare well.”

      Also, consider the following:

      • Do not ask people to register before buying. Give them the option to register, but don’t make it mandatory.
      • Only ask for essential details.
      • Offer multiple ways to pay. Check out our guide to payment gateways for ideas.
      • Make delivery costs clear (and don’t leave it until the last moment to state them).

      3. Optimize your site for speed

      Site speed, or on a more granular basis, page load speed, is important for two reasons:

      1. SEO: Google has stated that all things being equal, page load speed is a ranking factor.
      2. UX: Longer page load speed = higher bounce rates and fewer sales.

      cGoogle’s own PageSpeed Insights will score any page of your site on how quickly (or slowly) it loads and tell you what you can do to improve it. We’ve also written a guide on what you can do to optimize a WordPress site for speed.

      4. Get into CRO

      CRO (or conversion rate optimization) is the practice of testing and optimizing your site — not to drive more traffic, but to convert more of that traffic into sales.

      It is, sadly, a frequently overlooked element of digital marketing. Ideally, it should go hand-in-hand with other digital marketing channels. But this is often not the case.

      Priority is typically placed on boosting traffic. And that’s understandable. Why invest in CRO when you have no traffic to convert?

      But once you do have a decent stream of traffic coming to your site? Start testing. Start tweaking. And start turning more of your visitors into customers.

      5. Upgrade your product visuals and videos

      Remember our first point?

      Online shopping eliminates the ability for people to see, touch, and try products. The more you can do to replicate the in-store experience, the more money you’re likely to make.

      One way to do this is to improve your product photos. Better yet, use videos, too.

      Take ASOS. All their product pages feature high-resolution photos from different angles that you can zoom in on. Alongside these are short “catwalk” style videos, enabling shoppers to see how the clothing fits and moves in real life.

      Example of ASOS product page listing.

      There’s no doubt that the effort ASOS puts into their imagery and video is part of the reason they’re one of the world’s leading online fashion retailers.

      6. Simplify your site structure

      Simple navigation = more sales. Complicated navigation = fewer sales.

      Why? If customers can’t find what they’re looking for, they’re not going to buy it (for obvious reasons).

      Your site structure can make or break your user experience. But what does a simple site structure look like?

      Something like this.

      Breakdown of well-optimized site structure.
      (Image credit)

      You have your homepage. Which leads to your top-level categories. Which leads to sub-categories. Which then include your products.

      Of course, this will vary depending on the type of site, your product range, and whether you have products in multiple categories — but this is a pretty typical example, and a solid structure to aim for.

      A couple of additional tips on this point:

      • Use breadcrumbs. They help users retrace their steps and easily return to a parent page or category.
      • Make sure your search function works properly.
      • Include filters. They enable users to refine categories and make the online shopping experience easier, faster, and more enjoyable.

      7. Give landing pages a festive makeover

      This one’s simple, really — you’re preparing your site for the festive season, so why not give it a temporary makeover in celebration?

      We’ve got plenty of inspiration for you here.

      8. Make sure your hosting can handle a holiday traffic surge

      E-commerce sites naturally see a boost in traffic during the holiday season. This is likely to be far more apparent in 2020 — especially in places where non-essential stores are closed due to COVID-19.

      Can your site handle that extra traffic? Does it have a limited bandwidth?

      An unexpected (or unplanned for) surge in traffic can slow sites down (in turn losing you sales) or break a site altogether.

      Consider upgrading your website’s hosting to ensure it can handle the extra demand. This guide can help you determine when to upgrade your site’s hosting.

      For online stores, we recommend looking at our WooCommerce hosting services. Starting at $16.95 per month, these plans come with an uptime guarantee, powerful caching, on-demand backups, and 24/7 support from WordPress experts.

      9. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly

      This is essential whatever time of year. We already know that more than half of online purchases take place on mobile. And now we have mobile-first indexing to consider too.

      Basically, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, the result is most likely going to be lower rankings, less traffic, and fewer conversions.

      You can find out if your site makes the grade with Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool.

      Another handy tool is Responsive Viewer — a free Chrome plugin that shows how sites look on various mobile devices.

      10. Borrow ideas from national brands

      Big brands mean big budgets, which in turn, mean (generally) big ideas. And many brands go all out for the holidays.

      While financial restrictions may prevent you from creating campaigns on that scale, there’s often a lot you can learn from looking at the marketing strategies of big brands (both inside and outside of your industry).

      Marketing Tactics

      11. Create bundled promotions

      Bundles — a form of upselling — are a big win for both the brand and the customer. The brand sells more stock, and the customer gets more for their money.

      What’s not to like?

      The only thing to consider is this: What should you include in your bundles?

      You shouldn’t try to palm your customers off with a bundle of completely unrelated products. Some companies do this to try to get rid of old stock, but interest will be minimal (if you get any at all).

      Instead, create bundles that are going to help customers, and save them time. For example, a “gifts for the whole family” bundle or a “most popular Xbox games of the year” bundle — ideal for lazy customers who just want to get their holiday shopping over and done with!

      Too much work?

      Here are a few alternatives to try.

      • Offer a discount when a customer buys X number of products or spends X amount.
      • Do a “buy X products, get the cheapest free” offer.
      • Allow customers to create their own bundles.
      Example of “Build Your Own Bundle” of Nintendo products.
      (Image credit)

      12. Offer samples with purchases

      This isn’t ideal for all industries, but it’s perfect for companies that distribute consumable products (think beauty products and toiletries, sweets, foods, drinks — anything that can be produced and given away in miniature form).

      Simply offer a free sample pack with a customer’s first purchase. Not only is this an incentive to buy, but it can boost your customer return rates, too.

      13. Boost traffic with a giveaway

      Online competitions are a simple, effective, and (depending on the prize) cheap way to drive traffic and (hopefully) customers to your site. They’re also a great way to expand your email marketing list.

      That said, it’s easy to run a competition and see little to no ROI.

      Many brands just create a competition page containing a simple question (or no question at all) and an entry form.

      Some brands will even host a competition on an external site. This should increase visibility and entrants — which is fine if your only intention is to get more names and addresses on your email list.

      But you’re trying to get people to your site, and more importantly, interacting with it. So how do you go about doing that?

      You include a question or task that requires entrants to explore your site.

      Let’s give you an example.

      Since we’re talking about a holiday promotion, you might ask entrants to complete a “wishlist” task. So say your prize was a $100 voucher for the site, you’d ask entrants how they would spend it/what items on your site they would put on their Christmas wish list.

      This forces entrants to actually browse through your products, meaning the competition is more likely to drive sales.

      14. Partner with micro-influencers

      You’ve probably heard about influencer marketing. You’ve probably thought it’s a tactic that’s beyond your reach. But have you heard of micro-influencer marketing?

      The name kind of gives it away. Micro-influencers have much smaller social networks than typical, big-name influencers. And that’s a good thing.

      Some of the benefits to partnering with a micro-influencer include:

      • More affordable fees.
      • A more niche following — meaning it’s easier to find an influencer with an audience that aligns with your product/s.
      • Less competition with products from other brands (and in turn, higher conversion rates).

      15. Create social media ads to promote your deals across all channels

      This is an obvious one, but it’s all-the-more important leading up to the holidays. Retailers must maximize the one time of year when consumers everywhere loosen the purse strings. One very effective way to do that is to advertise on social media — especially to promote offers or deals.

      Oh, and those competitions we just mentioned.

      Just beware that while social media advertising might appear simple, you could lose a lot of money if you get it wrong.

      For maximum ROI, you want to ensure you’re targeting exactly the right people. If you don’t know how to do this, either learn or pay an expert to create and manage the ads for you.

      Just bear in mind: If you want to teach yourself, you need to check the date on the resources you’re learning from. Social media advertising is in constant flux. Out-of-date resources are largely worthless.

      16. Plan your marketing emails

      This is another obvious one, and it’s likely something you’re already doing. However, any retailer that fails to make the most of the holiday season is making a big mistake. So plan to send a number of emails, and plan ahead.

      Like so:

      1. Learn how to send marketing emails and newsletters (if you don’t know already).
      2. Build or grow your email list (there are lots of tips here on how to do that).
      3. Plan what you’re going to send and when. Focus on your offers.
      4. Make a point of how you’re going to capture people’s attention. Remember that most retailers go above and beyond for the holiday season, so to stand out, you need to be sending awesome emails with equally awesome subject lines.
      5. Create your emails.
      6. Schedule them in.
      Alt-text: Example email campaign from BuyAGift.
      (Image credit)

      17. Create “abandoned cart” email campaigns

      Cart abandonment sits at approximately 69%.

      There are many reasons why this happens — from hidden delivery charges to a customer simply changing their mind. However, often the customer just gets distracted and forgets or decides they’re going to sit on it before clicking “buy” (another situation that inevitably results in the customer forgetting about their basket altogether).

      This is where abandoned cart emails come in.

      Odds are you’ve received them yourself in the past. They’re simply a friendly reminder that you’ve got items sitting in your basket.

      Most e-commerce content management systems offer plugins to automate this process. If you’re working with a bespoke system, talk to your developer.

      18. Write holiday gift guides and “Best of” blog posts

      When it comes to buying gifts, consumers are always in need of inspiration. Even when it’s someone you’ve known and loved for years, deciding what to buy them can be tough.

      As a result, searches for “gift guides” peak a lot every December.

      Example search result usage for ‘gift guides’ in December.
      (Image credit)

      Want to get in on some of that?

      Promote your own products by writing themed, targeted gift guides. By this, we don’t mean writing generic “Christmas gift guide” posts. Write posts that are specific to a particular audience — i.e., for grandparents, siblings, partners, and so on.

      19. Add your offers to coupon sites

      Who doesn’t love a good deal? Especially when we’re on a holiday shopping spending spree!

      Drive extra traffic and business by promoting your offers on coupon sites.

      There’s a big list of coupon sites to sift through here — though there’s always going to be more, so you should do your own research too.

      Just bear in mind that many coupon sites operate as affiliate sites. This means they take a cut of the revenue when they refer a customer that converts and that you’ll need to start an affiliate scheme to get featured.

      20. Create a holiday-themed lead magnet

      Lead magnets are incentives from marketers or site owners to their customers or potential customers, meant to capture their email address and (usually) a few other details.

      Think free eBooks, cheat sheets, tools, printables — the options are pretty much endless.

      The only real rules are that you need to be offering real, high-quality content, and payment should only be in the form of a user’s details.

      They’re worth having on your website all year round, but why not dress them up for the party season and create an extra incentive for your visitors by designing a festive lead magnet or two?

      Customer Support Ideas

      21. Provide really excellent customer service

      So you should be doing this all year round, but the (massive) uptick in shoppers leading up to the holidays means you need to be even more on the ball when it comes to customer service.

      Consider things like:

      • A likely increase in customer inquiries: Do you have the resources to deal with them? And if not, how can you increase your customer support capacity?
      • Extending your returns policy — ideally well into January. Better yet, include a slip with purchases that their loved ones can use to discreetly and easily return them. This gives shoppers extra peace of mind that an unwanted gift (or the money spent on it) won’t go to waste.
      • Your customers’ most common questions: What are they? Drafting replies to these questions can be a huge timesaver and speed up how long it takes to respond to them.

      22. Update your processes to help stressed shoppers

      Continuing with the topic of customer service, remember that at this time of year, shoppers are going to be extra stressed. Especially if they’ve made the classic mistake of leaving gift buying to the very last minute.

      Be prepared for a surge in orders as the big day draws closer. Make your final order date for guaranteed Christmas delivery (or any other holiday) crystal clear. And upgrade yours and your staff’s knowledge of products and processes so you can assist stressed shoppers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

      Loosening up your processes a little is a very good idea too.

      Whether a customer urgently wants something that’s out of stock or needs an item to arrive earlier than it typically would, do your best to go out of your way and accommodate their needs.

      You’ll be thanked later in the form of customer loyalty.

      23. Reward loyal customers with a gift or special offer

      Want to build on the customer loyalty you’re creating by going above and beyond for them? Then why not reward them with a special gift or an offer they just can’t refuse?

      For bonus points, personalize the gift or offer. This may not always be possible, especially during extra-busy periods, but use it if you have the capacity.

      Valued customers are far more likely to return than customers who feel like a number in a machine.

      24. Review and adapt your shipping policies

      Thanks to a certain big e-commerce site, online shoppers have become increasingly accustomed to the idea of fast, free shipping.

      If your average delivery time exceeds two days, and you’re charging delivery fees, you could be losing sales. Especially if you’re shipping small, lightweight items.

      Multiple tests have been carried out on the impact of free shipping, with the average uptick in conversions being between 25–40%.

      Yep — charging for shipping could be slashing your sales by up to 40%.

      This is even more apt during the holiday season when shoppers are (often) strapped for cash. Slap them with an unexpected shipping charge, and a big order could quickly become no order.

      “But what about revenue?” We hear you say.

      “Our margins are tight anyway.”

      There isn’t a perfect solution, but if your products are hard to find elsewhere, simply increase your prices slightly and absorb the shipping cost into them.

      25. Increase the ways your customers can contact you

      How can customers reach you? Not everyone wants to pick up the phone or wait for a response to an email. If you don’t already, consider offering support via live chat and social media.

      Just make sure to manage your support channels so that when a customer contacts you via live chat or social, someone’s there to answer them.

      Ready to Run a Holiday Sale?

      Whether you need help creating a holiday marketing campaign, optimizing an e-commerce website, or creating a landing page, we can help! Subscribe to our monthly digest so you never miss an article.

      Holiday Shoppers Are Waiting

      There you have it: 25 ways to boost your sales throughout the holiday period (and in many ways, beyond). Choose and implement as many relevant suggestions as you can, and we’ll cross our fingers and toes that you’ll have your most successful winter ever!



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      DigitalOcean Holiday Livestream: Deploying to 2021 and Not Rolling Back!


      How to Join

      This virtual event is free and open to everyone. Register on Eventbrite here to receive a link to join live on Thursday, December 17, 2020, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. ET.

      About the Event

      Let’s bid adieu to 2020 with demos of our favorite developer projects this year, get a sneak peek of the DigitalOcean product roadmap, and hang out over a game or two of Among Us!

      Agenda

      • Trends influencing developers at work
      • DigitalOcean roadmap preview
      • Demos of our favorite apps from around the globe

      What to Bring (Optional)

      • Your favorite snacks/beverage
      • A link to your favorite open source projects this year



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      How Your Online Business Can Nail Customer Service During the Holiday Rush


      The holiday season is upon us once more, and that means many things for your business. On the one hand, you’re about to enter the most lucrative period of the year. However, you’ll also be considerably busier than usual, and will likely need to deal with a much higher number of customer support queries.

      To make sure your support can cope with the holiday rush, you’ll want to plan ahead. Strengthening and preparing your support team is key to helping them provide assistance for a huge influx of stressed customers. If you do that, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of the season more effectively.

      In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s particularly important to provide quality customer service throughout the holidays. We’ll also offer some tips for how you can prepare your business and support team in advance. Let’s get started!

      Why Customer Service Matters Most During the Holidays

      If you’re anything like us, you’re getting busier by the day preparing for the holiday season. However, this isn’t just a time for buying gifts and eating good food. It’s also the most critical period for businesses, as many companies make the bulk of their yearly sales during the last few weeks of the year.

      However, to make sure your business takes full advantage of this period, you’ll need to plan ahead carefully. There are plenty of ways to ensure that you’re ready for the holiday rush, and one of the most crucial is making sure your customer service will function flawlessly.

      Of course, providing high-quality customer support is always necessary. During the holiday rush, however, you will most likely be inundated with even more support queries, questions, and confused customers than at any other time of the year. And because of high stress levels, you’re also more likely to end up dealing with some frustrated and potentially antagonistic customers.

      This might sound intimidating. By preparing in advance and making a solid plan, however, you can ensure that your customer service will remain top-notch even under less-than-ideal circumstances. Not only will this help your customers, but it will be a huge benefit to you and your customer service agents as well.

      10 Ways to Prepare Your Customer Service for the Holiday Rush

      If you’re wondering: “When should I start to prepare for the holidays?”, our answer is right now! It’s never too early to start planning for the year’s final month, but having a plan in place at least before the beginning of December is highly recommended.

      With that in mind, we’re going to guide you through some of the most important steps you’ll want to take. Here are 10 things you can do prepare your customer service before Santa arrives!

      1. Analyze Last Year’s Data

      A perfect place to start your planning is to look back at the previous year. This will involve examining the volume of calls and messages you received, finding out what the most common pain points were, and trying to understand where your service may have been lacking.

      Having this data at hand will be a huge help when formulating a plan for the upcoming rush. You’ll be able to improve in areas where you’ve struggled previously, and you can also preemptively provide information for the most common customer questions. In turn, this will cut down on the number of queries your team has to field.

      How you go about doing this analysis will naturally depend on your toolset. If you’re using software like Zendesk or Awesome Support, you can just view the statistics and queries from previous years. You should also liaise with your support and marketing teams, as they’ll be best equipped to tell you where you need to focus your attention.

      Here are some vital questions you’ll want to be able to answer:

      • How much larger is the volume of support queries you receive during the holiday shopping period, compared with the rest of the year?
      • What are the most common questions customers have?
      • How are most people choosing to contact you — via email, phone, chat, or some other medium?

      Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list. However, these answers will help you immensely throughout the rest of your preparations.

      2. Decide Which Support Channels to Focus On

      It’s essential that you know where to focus your attention during the holiday season. At first glance, it might seem like the best route to use every conceivable method of contact, but this can lead to spreading yourself too thin.

      Imagine that you have to simultaneously juggle phone lines, live chat, emails, and social media, in addition to updating your content and dealing with orders and shipping. In this scenario, you’ll likely see most — if not all — of those channels suffer in quality. This is especially true if you only have a small support team.

      To avoid this problem, you’ll need to consider which channels of communication to focus on. The best way to start is by looking at which channels are most commonly used by your customers. As we mentioned in the previous section, looking at earlier years’ support queries will give you a good baseline to work from. However, you’ll also want to consider which channels are most popular during the rest of the year.

      For example, if you find that your customers are primarily calling in or using your contact form throughout the year, it’s fair to assume that these will be the busiest channels during the holidays as well. Knowing this will let you assign more people to handle those channels, and avoid keeping customers waiting.

      3. Prepare for Quick Scaling

      The truth is that no matter how well you plan, the holidays are never completely predictable. This means you’ll need to have a contingency plan, in case you need to scale up or down with little notice.

      For example, what if you face twice as many support requests as you anticipated? You’ll need to be able to assign more time and manpower to deal with them, while also keeping the rest of your operations afloat. In this scenario, you might consider hiring remote seasonal workers to help out.

      This is something many companies do to handle the increased volume of work during the holidays. Hiring temporary workers gives you the freedom to change the size of your team at almost a moment’s notice. For example, you could use a service like PartnerHero to outsource some or all of your customer support work during this period.

      Naturally, you’ll need to ensure that these seasonal workers have all the assets and information they need, which is something we’ll discuss later on. With the right preparations in place, they should be able to slot into your normal operations with little friction and help you deal with almost any unexpected situation.

      4. Keep Your Customers Informed

      Arguably the most significant way to avoid customer frustration is to manage their expectations. If your support is changing during the holidays, you need to make that clear as early as possible. They’ll need to be aware of when and how they will be able to contact you.

      It’s also smart to let customers know how your other operations are likely to alter. For example, will returns take longer to process, and will they need to wait a bit for responses to their emails? By letting them know what to expect, you can keep them informed and minimize the risk of frustration or hostility.

      One strategy you can use to your advantage is sometimes referred to as “underpromise and overdeliver.” The idea is that you prepare customers for potential issues that may arise, but then work to avoid those problems anyway. This lets you exceed their expectations.

      Overall, our recommendation is to be honest about what customers can expect and to make any changes clear through as many channels as possible. That includes on your website, social media, and even your email list. This will ensure that the bulk of your customers know what to expect.

      5. Use Automation to Your Advantage

      When the season gets going and you find yourself swamped in tasks, every second will count. To make sure you can use your available time most efficiently, you’ll want to consider automating tasks whenever it’s possible to do so.

      For instance, you can create an automated workflow using software like Help Scout. This can be set up to redirect customer queries to the person or team best suited to deal with them. Not only will this save time on your end, but it will also keep waiting times down for your stressed customers.

      Workflows also let you handle plenty of other tasks automatically, such as tracking products to let you know right away when stocks are low. You can then deal with the potential issue before it becomes a full-blown problem.

      There are plenty of other ways you can use automation during the holidays. One of the best strategies is to set up an AI-driven chatbot that can help you deal with the most common questions. This can dramatically cut down on the amount of time the human members of your team need to spend on customer support requests.

      6. Implement a Triage System for Support Queries

      In addition to automating parts of your support system, you can also optimize it by introducing a triage process. This involves sorting tasks and support queries into categories depending on their urgency. You can then prioritize more urgent matters first, while non-emergency tasks can be dealt with later.

      Implementing triage into your customer service will let you focus your attention on what matters most at any given time. The most pressing and time-sensitive tasks can be dealt with right away, minimizing the risk of making your customers feel frustrated and hostile.

      An easy way to do this is to simply categorize each customer query according to priority. If an issue needs to be dealt with immediately, you might label it as “critical,” while if it needs to be looked at within 1-2 hours it could be labeled “urgent.” Issues that can wait a day or two, on the other hand, can be noted as “low priority.”

      However, you need to remember that you’ll still have to actually deal with all requests. If you find that you’re never getting around to handling low-priority tasks, you may need to consider scaling your team up temporarily by assigning additional personnel.

      7. Update Your Content and Knowledge Base

      Earlier, we discussed the importance of keeping your customers informed. However, this extends beyond just letting them know about changes to your schedule. By making sure that all of your content and assets are up-to-date, you can save both customers and yourself a lot of time and hassle.

      For example, if you provide a knowledge base with information about your products and services, you can use it to answer most of the most commonly asked questions during the holiday period. In many cases, your support team can simply refer customers to relevant knowledge base articles, answering their queries quickly.

      For this to work, you’ll obviously need to ensure that you provide as much documentation and information as possible. It also needs to be thoroughly updated, to ensure that you don’t cause additional confusion among your customers.

      If you need to set up a knowledge base, you can use a plugin such as Heroic Knowledge Base. If you already have one, on the other hand, you should perform a content audit well before the holiday rush kicks in. This can also involve reviewing similar resources, such as your FAQ page.

      8. Learn How to Help Stressed Customers

      The holidays are intended to offer relaxation and fun, but we all know that it can also be a thoroughly stressful period. As such, you’re likely to deal with a few customers who are particularly difficult, frustrated, or even outright antagonistic.

      Naturally, you’ll need to prepare in order to help them out and avoid angering them further. Dealing with difficult customers is a delicate task. The most valuable advice we can offer is to train your support team to stay calm and professional at all times, no matter what a customer might say.

      In addition, here are some ways you can approach particularly challenging customers:

      • Listen. If the customer feels like they’re being deflected or ignored, they’re only going to get angrier and less responsive.
      • Be quick. Naturally, your goal is to be as a fast as possible with all support queries. However, it can be worth prioritizing more stressed customers, to avoid further incident.
      • Treat them like people. We discussed the value of automation earlier, but in tough cases, it’s better to take a personal approach. Make it clear to the customer that you’re handling their issue and care about their frustration, so they don’t feel like they’re being treated as a nuisance.

      In short, by listening to the customer and being prepared to meet them halfway, you can usually solve even the most heated of issues.

      9. Prepare to Provide Compensation to Customers

      In some situations, you may need to compensate customers. Especially in the most volatile or challenging cases, a simple gift can help to smooth things over immensely. Some customers might even demand this kind of treatment.

      Providing compensation can help to soften even the most upset customers. It can also win back some goodwill. Your goal is to ensure that the customer considers using your business again in the future, despite their current grievances.

      Naturally, you’ll want to be very careful about how and when you compensate customers. In some cases, such as when they’ve received a faulty product, you may be legally obligated to provide a new item or a refund.

      However, you can also provide compensation if a customer has had a particularly difficult experience, either with your business or your customer service. This could be in the form of a small gift, a coupon, a discount, or anything else that’s convenient but useful to the customer.

      10. Take Care of Your Support Team

      Finally, while it’s obviously necessary to take care of your customers, you shouldn’t ignore the people on your own front lines. Beginning on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the holiday rush is a stressful experience for everyone, especially those who have to field questions and requests from wound-up customers.

      Depending on the size of your business, you can take care of your support team in several ways. Naturally, you should make sure they have everything they’ll need to do their jobs without incident.

      However, it’s also nice to reward your support team further, to show your appreciation for all their hard work. Even something as simple as the occasional gift, like seasonally appropriate sweets and drinks, can do a lot to raise morale during this hectic season.

      Holiday Shopping Made Easy

      The holidays are meant to be a time of joy, but it can be hard to feel merry if your customer service is strained. By preparing well in advance, you can put a plan into place, train your team, and inform your customers — providing effective and efficient support as a result.

      Do you have any questions about how to handle customer support during the holiday rush? Find us on social and let’s start the conversation!





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