Chapter 2

Hiring, training and outsourcing - by LTVPlus

Regina Mae Ongkiko
Content Marketing

Black Friday 2021 generated $8.9 billion in sales, while Cyber Monday 2021 generated $10.7 billion. Can you imagine how many shoppers and transactions there were during that one weekend?

BFCM weekend is the biggest eCommerce season and it’s usually a double-edged sword. This season can get you a lot of new customers and can help you experience record-breaking sales. At the same time, it’s also an opportunity to boost your customer retention and create more loyal customers.

But, if you fail to plan out every single aspect of your BFCM, you could have dissatisfied customers, negative reviews, and a damaged brand reputation.

However, a well-prepared customer support team can help reduce customer friction, satisfy your customers, and offer an overall positive experience during the BFCM flurry. Additionally:

  • 90% of customers share that an “immediate” response (which the majority defined as 10 minutes or less) is crucial when they have a question for customer support (HubSpot)
  • 40% of holiday shoppers admit they’re more likely to buy from a brand they can message directly (Facebook survey)

That being said, here are some tips on how you can ensure your customer support team is fully equipped to handle the mad chaos of BFCM:

1. Prioritize capacity planning to ensure you can meet the surge in demand

BFCM 2021 had a 50% increase in ticket volumes. From November 26 to 30, ticket volume stats were more than 3 million in number.

Do a quick review of your customer support team’s capacity. Imagine if the support tickets you usually receive increase by 50%. Can your team still handle it without burning out?

If your team is already at maximum capacity prior to BFCM, then it’s likely time to add more members.

Other things you can do as early as now:

  1. Optimize your self-service options, knowledge base, and FAQs.
  2. Install a live chat box to answer repetitive questions from new customers, freeing up the time of your human agents to handle escalated concerns.

It’s important to do your capacity planning as early as possible because you’ll still need to onboard and train your new members.

2. Invest in quality training for your customer support agents

The quality of your customer support will set your brand apart from others. This boils down to how you train your agents and your standards of success and quality.

It’s important to train both your new hires and your current team members so you can get everyone ready for BFCM.

Here’s a quick punch list of what to include in your training program:

  1. Review or feedback on last year’s BFCM support tickets and frequently asked questions
  2. Exercises for improving communication skills and product knowledge
  3. Conflict resolution examples
  4. How to use your tools and tech staff effectively and efficiently

Remember, when customer support is exceptional, it resonates with customers.

3. Consider outsourcing an entire team that can offer 24/7 support

Yes, BFCM season needs all hands on deck and a fully-equipped customer support team. But before you proceed to hiring and training, ask yourself these two questions:

Was the volume of support tickets last BFCM way above your regular days? If the answer is yes, you might end up having team members who will have too much idle time after BFCM.

Do you have the resources to devote to hiring, training, and managing the additional manpower? If you don’t, you’ll need to look for those resources as well.

Outsourcing entire eCommerce customer support teams is a solution you may want to look into. That way, you can focus on preparing for BFCM while hiring and training are being taken care of in the background.

Key takeaway: exceptional BFCM customer support matters

Customers of today are used to getting answers fast and as soon as possible. This BFCM, fast and excellent customer support may make the difference between eCommerce brands that succeed and those that will not. 

Start warming up while it’s still early. Proceed with capacity planning and make your next move.