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2019 Holiday Readiness: How to Resolve More Service Cases During Peak Holiday

Einstein with customer support

How do you prep for the influx of customer service cases during the holidays? Here’s how to use customer service as a way to build loyalty long after the presents are unwrapped.

It’s official – we’re just a few weeks out from Cyber Week. As we get closer, I hope you feel prepared for the arrival of holiday shoppers. I’m personally excited to see how brands pull out all the stops to deliver the best experiences that create lasting relationships this holiday season.

If you’ve been following along in this series, you’ve learned how to embed your brand everywhere, personalize at scale, optimize for SEO and site search, and prepare for high traffic volumes. There’s just one thing left to do as you put the finishing touches on your plans: prepare customer service to handle the spike in cases.

Customer service is the linchpin of customer satisfaction, and when brands see an influx in cases over the holidays, in-store employees and remote agents must act fast and efficiently to deliver personalized service. Last year, we found that service agent activity peaked during Christmas and Boxing Week, while Cyber Week saw more cases across social, messaging, and chat.

Don’t play hide-and-go-seek with your service options. As you hire additional staff to handle the influx of cases and prepare your team, here’s how to use customer service as a way to build loyalty long after the presents are unwrapped.

1. Improve your site’s help center

FAQ pages should cover the most common issues, like questions about shipping times or how to return an item. This page should pop up whenever a shopper types a relevant query into the search bar. Artificial intelligence can personalize this content to resolve the issue even faster. 

For more specific or unusual concerns not included on your FAQ page, make it easy for shoppers to submit a case with a web form. Shoppers should also have the ability to connect with a chatbot or text an 800 number for more control of their service experience.

2. Bring in the bots

Free up live agents to focus on more complex cases by implementing chatbots, which are powered by artificial intelligence to provide personalized service at scale with answers to common questions such as, “What’s my order status?” “How do I return something?” and “How do I reset my password?” If bots can’t answer a question, they can collect shopper information and escalate the case to an agent who can use those details to resolve the problem faster.

Bots get smarter with every case and can also suggest additional items that might be of interest through consultative selling capabilities. That means you’re prepared to resolve more cases and spark another purchase in the same conversation.

3. Empower agents with a single view

Callers typically hang up after staying on hold for one minute and 55 seconds, according to the Small Business Chronicle. To handle more cases quickly, agents should have all critical information available from a single console for a complete view of the shopper, including transaction history and shipping details. For brands using Service Cloud, a decision tree surfaces to help agents resolve issues fast, increasing efficiency and boosting customer satisfaction.

4. Begin agent training stat

New agents should be trained up to six weeks in advance of Cyber Week. Salesforce offers free Trailhead guided learning paths to teach new agents about first call resolution, case de-escalation, how to work with AI, apply guided selling techniques, and more.

Our goal for this series is to give you confidence as you head into the season. When it’s over, reflect on your performance and analyze metrics to understand what worked well and what you could do even better going into the new year.

What’s next? Get our predictions for the holiday season. As you finalize your plans, check against our tried-and-true holiday season strategies and unlock any last-minute tools and tips at our Holiday Headquarters. You can also text FLASH to 38767 to receive Salesforce Holiday Flash Reporting SMS updates.

Rob Garf VP and GM, Retail

With 25 years of global retail experience as a practitioner (Lids, Marshalls, Hit or Miss), an industry analyst (AMR Research), a strategy consultant (IBM), and a software leader (Salesforce), he is no stranger to the industry and the challenges retailers face. Rob is also a frequent industry speaker and a member of NRF’s Digital Council.

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