Retail Holiday Strategy: Top 3 Ways To Manage Customer Support

Luna Tidrick


This is the time of year when customer support can be really challenging. There are so many factors to consider and a multitude of tickets to address. To help keep your team afloat during these busy months, here are 3 ways to manage holiday customer support.

Every year during the holiday season customer support proves to be a big undertaking. There are so many different things to consider when it comes to managing ticket spikes you might see this time of year. From how your team can stay on top of their game during these busy times, to some helpful tips for making sure your customers have the best experience possible- we're here with 3 key points on how you can be successful.

Identify the most common questions your customers have.

Identifying what issues are plaguing your customers is key to helping them have the best possible holiday experience. Once you know, it's time for some problem-solving! What makes your holiday customer service problems especially cumbersome this time of year? Is it packages arriving later than expected, or maybe returns that just won't go through? Evaluate metrics to figure out what product or service issues are most prominent for this time of year, and use that information to streamline your overall holiday strategy.

Organize knowledge base

Polish your customer knowledge base

One of the most efficient ways to streamline the process is by enhancing and adding to your knowledge base. By using past holiday reports to provide insight, you can learn where customers have historically gotten hung up, rerouted or even give up.

Look at holiday customer support tickets that address common questions/remarks that your representatives might be seeing through ticket submissions. Most knowledge base products will allow you to add question categories with answer fields that can be pulled in when a support ticket is created with the same question/category combo.

Refine chat macros for agents to use with customers

Revise existing chat macros

If you have a chat function, it's best to run a quick audit of current macros in place and proactively add holiday related questions that might be asked. This will help agents have answers prepared for potential customer issues that may arise. Remember, customers during the holiday are most likely stressed, overworked, rushed, and maybe even frustrated with their holiday experience so holiday support reps need to be prepared.

Key Takeaway: Save agent time by prioritizing items that are usually asked. A complete knowledge base and some chat macros can render amazing results.

Ensure that agents are given adequate downtime.

It's a hectic time for everyone, and holiday customer service agents need to be given the time they deserve to spend with friends and family. Be sure to consider holiday hours, seasonal staffing needs, and make holiday arrangements for any employees who work in critical holiday operation roles. When you prioritize the mental health of customer service agents during the holidays (and beyond), they'll be able to provide customers with outstanding holiday customer service.

Seasonal care package for agents and employees

Consider sending wellness packages to representatives

Whether it's a gift card to a coffee shop or full-blown spa package, letting your agents know that you care about their well-being can go a long way. Customer service holiday hours get longer and the holiday ticket spike can get especially messy. However, if you make your customer service holiday representatives feel valued by sending holiday wellness packages, they'll be able to feel good about themselves while still providing customers with exceptional customer support.

Key Takeaway: When agents know that their time and needs matter, it can even encourage them to go the extra mile during what is another tough holiday season for many people.

Focus on KPIs that your customer support needs.

It's very important to establish KPIs within your holiday team and include customer service reps, holiday managers and holiday directors so that everyone is on the same page. It'll help you understand what metrics should be considered a holiday success or failure and will also allow your agents to take ownership for their performance.

Customer support business metrics

Specific time periods may depend on specific KPIs

The holiday ticket spike can happen anytime during the holiday season - not just right at peak times. This means that it might be better to focus on daily KPIs rather than big picture metrics like cost per contact or resolutions. You may discover that some KPIs work better together as a whole system during slower times of year, but don't work as well separately during peak times.

Key Takeaway: When you're aligned as a team and each member understands their holiday customer service objectives and how they contribute to meeting those needs, you'll see a less stressed holiday season.

Identify, organize and document

Providing customer support is an integral part of keeping holiday stress low for your customers. Be sure that all customer service operations are in line with the above three critical holiday success factors in order to keep stress low for both your customers and your customer service teams.