COVID and economic-related shopping shifts and struggles will continue in 2021 and into 2022 while customer expectations continue to evolve and increase. This makes return policies the center of customer loyalty for every retailer worldwide.
Mark Mathews, NRF’s vice president of research development and industry analysis points out that, “Retailers view the return process as an opportunity to further engage with customers, as it provides additional points of contact for retailers to enhance the overall consumer experience.”
72% of shoppers reported that a great return experience makes them more likely to buy again from the same retailer. When you offer busy and stressed customers an effortless experience, they’re likely to recommend your brand and share their experiences on social media. In September, the leading e-commerce giant, Amazon, extended its returns policy till the end of January and other retailers should follow suit.
But how can support teams keep up with the scale and speed of the inbound return process online during return season? 3 words: Thankful’s AI Agent.
Many holiday customer queries are repetitive with agents handling the same issues over and over again which can take a toll on them mentally and physically. As a result, many agents during this time of year report high levels of stress with equal parts boredom and burnout.
With the current labor shortage, most customer support teams are already short on expertise, which makes it impossible to handle pre and post-holiday spikes in service demand. So what are brands to do?
During the post-holiday season chaos that began in 2020, Lumin was struggling to manage extreme ticket volumes and needed to provide customers with quick and personalized customer service. They made the wise decision to begin leveraging AI automation and partnered with Thankful.
By analyzing their most common tickets, we partnered to create automated, AI responses that balanced speed and resolution to deliver a competitive customer experience.
Lumin was able to eliminate the burden of staffing and became empowered to scale without making any major changes or major investments. The shocking result?
Most Consumers During The Holidays Are Straight Up Not Having a Good Time. Be Empathetic and Reep the Rewards.
A whopping 88% of people think the holiday season is the most stressful time of the year.
The physical and mental impact of the pandemic, pressures of gift-giving, Aunt Karen’s Facebook page that always starts drama, and the plight of seasonal depression are just some of the emotional weights that people are carrying this holiday season.
So how can brands make the holidays a little brighter for every customer they touch?
Empathy-driven experiences lead to increased customer engagement. A Gallup survey found that customers are 9 times more likely to be engaged when they receive empathetic customer support. In the world of marketing and sales, engagement always equals more revenue long-term, especially experiences that are shared on social media.
Empathy within your CS and AI systems is a necessary path to securing your customer base both now and in the long run. AI automation has the power to deliver empathetic experiences at scale through personalization.
Customer loyalty initiatives, automation, and AI-powered empathy is how support teams will survive the post-holiday pandemonium of 2021. Let Thankful be your partner through the panic and help you drive positive outcomes with your customers!