6 tips for handling customer service during the holiday rush

Customer service
Jul 25, 2023
min read
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The holiday season is coming. That means significantly higher customer service volumes for e-commerce businesses. With the ever-increasing workload during the holiday season, businesses need to work smarter (not harder) to exceed those expectations.

Read on to learn how busy support teams can handle high conversation volumes in the most efficient way during the holidays.

1. Set clear customer expectations and let them know when to expect a response

Customers hate waiting on hold. Especially during the holidays. Your team should respond as quickly as possible to customer inquiries and set clear expectations. Your first response time plays a vital role in determining the levels of customer satisfaction.

“90% of customers rate an 'immediate' response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. 60% of customers define 'immediate' as 10 minutes or less.” (Hubspot)

Make your customers aware of your team’s availability or other important customer service issues. That way, your customers know when to expect support, and your agents have the time to give every customer the best support possible.

For example, with the WhatsApp auto-reply feature, you can set up an ‘away message’ for when you’re not available or online on WhatsApp Business. This way, you’ll be able to communicate response times clearly during the holidays.

Check out this WhatsApp auto-reply example:

"Hi! Thanks for your message. Our team is super busy packing all of the gifts, so we may not reply as fast as you are used to from us. We will respond within 24 hours. In the meantime, you can check out our help centre full of answers to frequently asked questions here: [link to help centre]. Happy holidays !🎄"

💡 Pro Tip: When you’re writing an auto-reply in WhatsApp, your primary goal should be to set a realistic expectation of when you’ll be available again to provide support. Customers appreciate knowing exactly when they can expect a response from you.

2. Save time through automation

Automation is extremely useful. Not only does it save your team a lot of time but it can also organise your inbox. And… save even more time! How? Let’s go through some automation tips and tricks.

💡Answer frequently asked questions with a flowbot

Let’s face it. Your agents can’t be around all the time. Who will handle customer inquiries at 2 am Friday morning? Or respond to customer emails on the weekend? In most cases — no one!

Thanks to chatbots and flowbots customers don’t have to wait for responses from live agents; they get immediate responses to their inquiries.

In Trengo, you can create your own flowbot and teach it everything it needs to know.

Flowbot helps you find the information your customers need quickly and easily. The bot will ask them a few simple multiple-choice questions to understand what they're looking for. Once they've chosen their option, it'll provide the requested info right in the chat. It's that simple.

Check out frequently asked questions last year during the holidays. Are they about shipping, cancellations or returns? Then simply fill in the questions and add the right answers to the bot. The more variations of a question you provide, the smarter it becomes and the more accurate its answers will be.

You can also design the flowbot to figure out when customers need to be forwarded to a specific team or team member. The bot recognises the customers by the answers they give and know exactly when they have to be forwarded to the customer service team.

“Using Flowbot can significantly reduce your team's workload, ultimately saving valuable time for both your team and your customers.”- Daryl Sanches, Team Lead Support at Trengo

📚Read more: Betersport set up a Flowbot to help to answer frequently asked questions. In Trengo, you can easily create your own bot without any knowledge of coding.

💡 Automate repetitive workflows with rules

Dragging emails to the right folders, forwarding emails to the right colleagues, setting ticket results, and so on. Routine and repetitive work consumes a significant amount of time for your team. That's why automation can be very helpful, especially for highly complex tasks like data entry or sending mass emails that are prone to human error.

Rules will help you automate your workflows, ensuring your team avoids unnecessary manual work.

For example, a team member is responsible for labelling all incoming emails from 5,000 customers. Rather than manually labelling each email, the team member could automate the entire process by categorizing each email using specific keywords in the email. That’s time, effort, and resources saved.

Rules consist of conditions that trigger a specific action.

So instead of repeating tasks, you can automate the entire process by creating your own rule.

Here are a few examples of workflows you can automate in Trengo:

  • Add labels to conversations
  • Add SLA to conversations
  • Send messages to customers.
⭐️Set up this rule in Trengo

The holiday season is a wonderful time, but it can also be stressful. It can be particularly challenging for your customer support team. They may not be able to respond to queries as quickly as usual. However, instead of leaving your customers waiting in the chat, you can use rules to inform them about the increased response time.

You can copy the following message and then set up the rule in Trengo:

"Currently, our chat is a little busier than usual. That's why we can't answer your question as fast as we normally do. We’re trying our best to get back to you as soon as possible. If you don't want to wait, we can also answer your question via email. Wishing you a merry Christmas and an amazing new year."

💡Establish a system for organising emails using labels

For all types of companies dealing with a large customer base; it’s normal to receive hundreds or even thousands of emails daily.

In this case, using a system will automatically sort incoming emails into specific categories based on priority, relevance, and other internal criteria.

For example, you can set up a system to filter emails based on ‘customer tag number,’ ‘customer name,’ and ‘subject line,’ then send to their respective folders and label them accordingly.

Pro trick → Labels are essential, especially in categorising your emails. For example, emails labelled “Action Required,” “Review,” “Important Notice,” or “Urgent Notice,” should likely be prioritised.

Labelling messages will also provide useful insights. Because in the reporting tab of your team inbox, you can check these label insights.

📚Read more: Parfumado’s support team was 30% more productive by using Trengo's automation solutions.

💡Set up quick replies

Your team receives a large number of customer queries during the holidays. But because there are always hot topics and frequently asked questions, these conversations won’t all be different. So, instead of typing the answers to FAQs over and over it’ll be easier for a team member to click, pick the right answer and send it.

Using quick replies makes your life easier in multiple ways:

  • They improve your response time
  • They save your customer service team time
  • They make it easier to keep a steady tone of voice as a team

How do you set up quick replies? → Check out this easy guide.

💡Provide self-service with a Help Center

Customers nowadays often prefer self-service over live support. They want to find the answer to their question as quickly as possible, without having to rely on an agent.  By building a Help Center at all times, you can enable your customers to help themselves. You can create articles on frequently asked questions and make the Help Center accessible on your website or in your website widget.

✨Did you know that you can create your own help center in Trengo? It's a great way to ease the burden on your customer support team.✨

3. Get insights on last year's holiday trends

Another important tip is to check statistics on last year's holiday trends. For example: which were your most busy channels, how long was your overall response time, and how many tickets did your team handle in total?

It is best to start measuring in September. The sooner you start, the more time you have to act on the results of the statistics, for example, by putting more agents on your most busy channels this year.

In a customer service dashboard, you can track all of the above metrics and more. This helps you to keep a clear overview and makes reporting easy. In Trengo’s dashboard, you can monitor the following metrics:

  • Average first response time
  • Average resolution time
  • CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Rate)
  • Busiest communication channels
  • Labels report. Which labels are assigned the most
  • FAQs

4. Communicate using preferred channels

During the holiday rush, customer communication may come flooding in from various channels, including emails, phone calls, live chats, social media messages, and more.

It’s pretty common to find customers using three to five channels to engage with businesses during and after purchase. However, 75% of customers still want a consistent experience regardless of the channel used.

If you want to respond to your customers as quickly as possible, you may want to think about adding an omnichannel widget to your website. The widget shows all your integrated channels in one view and your customers get to pick their preferred channel of communication. This can be a great asset to your team, especially during peak season. By using the chatbot and flowbot that you can add to the widget, you can answer FAQs quickly and efficiently, helping your website visitors 24/7.

5. Update your live chat greeting messages

When a visitor opens the live chat on your website, you can immediately impress them using a strong greeting message. Live chat greetings make you 24/7 available, increasing your overall customer experience. You can also increase your conversion rates by offering your visitors a special discount for special occasions.

You can adjust your live chat greetings for the holiday season. Here's an example for you:

6. Set up a team inbox in Trengo

Customer service reps need to make the most of their time and tools in every interaction to provide the best possible experience. This is where a team inbox comes in.

A team inbox is a shared location to receive all customer communications in one place. For instance, instead of going to four separate locations to open messages sent to sales@, info@, hello@, and support@ addresses, a team inbox is a central spot for each of these. Think of a team inbox as your one-stop communication shop for customer services and sales teams.

Multiple team members can manage the team inbox and respond to messages, referencing the history of the conversation and giving the rest of the team visibility of the conversation status. Team inboxes offer improved collaboration and productivity for the entire team — which is, ultimately, a win for the customer too. Let’s dig into some of the collaboration tools.

💡@tagging colleagues

When you’re having a conversation with a customer, it is important to quickly get to the bottom of their issue. Sometimes a team member will know the answer immediately. However, more often than not, they will need help from a different team or team member to resolve the issue.

@tagging feature in Trengo makes it possible to get help from colleagues quickly. Below any customer conversation, team members can @mention each other and discuss the matter internally to find a solution - all without troubling the customers.

💡Assign conversations to specific teams or team members

Is there a question about orders or one about invoices? No need to go through all messages individually. Assign them straight away to the right team by using automation. The right team member with the know-how on this specific topic can pick it up and respond fast. This ensures customer queries go directly to the person responsible for handling them.

💡Use workload balancing

Workload balancing will help you equally and automatically distribute the workload among the members of your team, based on what every member of the team can handle. As conversations are distributed automatically, it ensures that every customer gets helped and everybody has their fair share of challenging questions.

Deliver excellent customer service during this holiday season

Holidays present a great chance to increase your customer base and boost revenue. However, this often leads to increased demands on your support team. With Trengo, you can give your team the tools to provide great customer support without adding more staff or expenses.

Are you looking to enhance your customer service skills this holiday season? Trengo can help you achieve just that.

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