How to Prepare for Peak 2022, Part 3: Associate Shortages
Although we’ve made great strides battling the pandemic, challenges still remain and changing economic conditions are a cause for concern as people consider seasonal work this year. Many may avoid it altogether. As a result, businesses need to think ahead and adopt new strategies to ensure their customer experience is positive and seamless.
In our final post in this series of peak planning strategies for 2022, we look at three solutions retail and eCommerce brands can use to prepare for an employee shortage during this year’s peak season.
While frontline employees like cashiers, baggers, cart wranglers, and department associates can’t be replaced by external companies or teams, certain roles can be.
Take customer service, for instance. Since most of the communications customer support teams receive is online, customer service functions can be successfully outsourced to a third party. From fielding phone calls, texts, live chats, and emails to responding to comments and direct messages on social media, all communication can flow seamlessly. And with the right tools, these customer service outsourcing companies can go beyond basic account management to handle product returns and exchanges.
As a result, your business can respond to customer support requests quickly, whether you have a large customer service team in-house or not.
Customer service is one of the most common applications for artificial intelligence (AI). From chatbots to customer sentiment analysis, almost every aspect of customer care can be handed to a machine.
This makes customer interactions much easier, as the AI can send canned responses to simple inquiries and route more complex questions and problems to the right support team associate. Since challenging questions are the only ones customer care representatives see, they’re able to spend more time and energy on those tasks—while still giving every customer a short wait time and helpful response.
Despite AI offering a fast way for customers to get support, many shoppers still prefer to handle issues on their own. This is great news for customer service teams, as seasonal support may be limited this year and customers already try self-service first before seeking support via digital or live channels.
By implementing a self-serve solution, you not only empower customers to resolve issues the way they want to (by themselves), but you also free up your team to focus on tougher calls and messages. At the same time, you enable customers to get answers at any time of the day or night, without requiring your teams to work overtime. This makes everyone happier—employees and customers alike.
Even though the peak season workforce may be small, there are lots of ways for your retail or eCommerce business to handle the flood of customers this holiday season. Whether you choose to outsource or adopt self-serve and AI customer service technology, a proactive approach will enable you to deliver exceptional customer care.