The holiday shopping season is well underway, and the stakes are high. As businesses attract new customers the pressure is on to deliver service levels that will keep them coming back long after the holiday lights are taken down. Many companies fail to deliver the service customers expect during this busy season, and as a result, lose customers just as quickly as they acquire them.
“Given that 86% of consumers will cease doing business with a company after just one negative experience, according to the Harris Interactive Customer Experience Impact Report, savvy brands know that an effective customer-service strategy is the key to a successful holiday spending season,” writes Summer Dennis for Twice.com.
Unfortunately, while retailers focus on flash sales, advertising and sales floor staffing, they often neglect customer service. “The days following Black Friday are notorious for customer-service breakdowns such as hold times of upward of one hour and abandoned help desk requests,” explains Dennis.
To retain customers, retailers must be prepared to deliver on their customer service promises—despite an influx of requests. One way to do so is to ensure your self-service options are both easy to use and enticing. “It is becoming more and more common for retailers to rely on mobile apps, social media chatbots and live co-browsing to reduce their overhead and customer hold times,” writes Dennis. “However, if brands want their customers to gravitate towards these tools, they need to come up with creative ways to make it worth it for them.”
Once self-service options are available to solve simple, straightforward customer requests, retailers should shift their focus to the call center. “The quantity may have gone down (as far as total support calls), but the complexity has gone up. The kinds of calls that go to a live agent are reserved for those complicated or urgent issues that are not handled by self-service,” writes Shep Hyken for Forbes.com.
Businesses must equip customer service agents with the tools they need to effectively service customers on these complex calls. Copper Mountain Resort gets it. Located in Summit County, Colorado in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the ski and vacation resort offers a variety of lodging, services, activities and vacation packages.
“The vacation itself should be an adventure, but the booking process shouldn’t be. A smooth experience with our Central Reservations Team shows just how much we value our guests here at Copper Mountain,” says Morgan Whitehouse, Copper Mountain Communications Coordinator. “We only use the best solutions that will deliver the best experience to create a lasting passion for Copper Mountain Resort.”
At its busiest, the resort’s Central Reservations Team processes 1,700 calls a day. In an effort to better support customers as well as its customer service representatives, Copper Mountain adopted Pure Cloud Engage and Polycom VVX 300 phones. “Voice over IP gives us better functionality and lowers our costs,” explains Chris Costa, Central Reservations Manager.
And their investment in the best voice solution doesn’t stop at the platform. Costa said representatives come in with their ski and boarding gear, chatting with one another and stomping snow off their boots. But Polycom’s Acoustic Fence technology ensures that the background noise doesn’t interfere with service calls. Representatives can enjoy a casual working environment and deliver professional service.
Similarly, HD voice delivers the clarity that Copper Mountain requires to deliver quality service. “HD voice provides such audio clarity that neither party has to repeat themselves as often as often as we did with our previous phone system,” explains Tim Lonergan, Central Reservations Assistant Manager. “As an international destination we have lots of callers that call in with thick accents from various places across the world. With HD voice it allows us to not have as many misunderstandings. This creates a positive working experience for both the guests and the employees.”
This attention to quality enables Copper Mountain to give customers consistently high quality, personalized service regardless of how busy the call center becomes—and that’s key for any kind of business.
“The holiday spending season presents retailers with a fantastic opportunity to build relationships with new customers,” writes Dennis. “By ensuring that every interaction is engaging and effective, retailers are positioning themselves for growth and year-round success.”