boo-retailHalloween is just around the corner. Although not as greatly celebrated as Christmas, it kicks off the feeling of the holiday season approaching. With pumpkin-spiced everything everywhere and groups of adorable and scary trick-or-treaters, don’t we all enjoy a good ghost story?

However for retailers, a ghost story, far more terrifying haunts all corners of retail at this time of the year. A recent study by retail giant, John Lewis revealed that us Britons don’t care what ghostly hour it is, as online shopping sees a 30% rise between midnight and 6am. As these connected consumers expect to search, shop, and self-serve online over channels of their choice, how can retailers make sure that there customer service strategy doesn’t turn into a nightmare in the lead up to the holiday season?

It’s no fairy tale today that the world as we know it is more connected than ever especially through mobile technologies. With more than 40% of online adults being multi-device users and over 70% of the U.K. population now owning a smartphone, consumers are increasingly turning to online channels to contact an organisation to resolve a customer service issue.

Chillingly, figures show that response rates and times to questions sent via e-mail or posted on social channels are proving disappointing, having a significant effect on customer satisfaction levels.

Twitter

  • Over 1.5 million direct questions go unanswered (Source: socialbakers)
  • Average question response time is 9 hours (Source: socialbakers)
  • 20% of users posts mentioning brand accounts are questions (Source: socialbakers)
  • Only 32% of brands have a dedicated customer service handle (Source: Simply Measured)

E-mail

  • 59% of organizations take more than 8 hours to provide a response to e-mail enquiries (Source: Kana)

Facebook

  • Only 65% of questions are responded to by brands on Facebook (Source: socialbakers)
  • 25% of user posts on Facebook pages are questions (Source: socialbakers)

Time to get your mobile customer service skeleton out of the closet
With a large percentage of posts on social media being questions, it makes sense to give customers the opportunity to self-serve answers to the most commonly asked questions themselves online, rather than keeping them in a perpetual state of hold.

Based on true events
An intuitive FAQ search tool or live chat via a tab on a company Facebook page, website (optimized for mobile) or during an e-mail or contact form enquiry, has been the key for many leading organizations to reduce their level of in-bound enquiries and, more importantly, to resolve the majority of customer enquiries quickly and efficiently.