A quarter of companies are seeing higher sales with self-service materials and chat. - IMAGE: ResultsCX

A quarter of companies are seeing higher sales with self-service materials and chat.

IMAGE: ResultsCX

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – ResultsCX, a premier customer experience partner to Fortune-100 and 500 companies worldwide, announced findings from its recent shopping and customer service survey, taking the pulse of organizations and how they’re handling a variety of customer service offerings this holiday season.

It’s equally important to offer self-service online customer care options for these shoppers, and to equip work-from-home agents with the tools they need to quickly and accurately resolve customer issues.

The National Retail Federation forecasts 2020 holiday sales to rise between 3.6% and 5.2% year over year, amounting to between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion1. With even more online shopping emphasis this year due to the pandemic, customer service will play a larger role, particularly after the holidays as more people leverage online channels for customer service issues and merchandise returns.

According to the December online survey presented to more than 1,500 organizations and commissioned by ResultsCX, nearly a third of respondents are expecting an increase in customer service demand of between 10% - 15% this year. More than half (54%) are expecting at least a 5% increase over last year.

The majority of respondents currently are offering, or are planning to offer in the near future, live chat functionality (69%), and 58% are offering human-like interactive chatbots capable of providing conversation-centric chat experiences to assist customers.

This is particularly important since 24% say their sales are “significantly” higher for self-service and chat channels than for traditional agent support. However, another 28% say they still don’t offer online customer care (live chat, self-support, or automated response materials), meaning nearly a third of companies polled are missing the chance to substantially elevate sales potential because of better customer care options.

Forty-five percent of companies offer FAQs on their websites, 16% offer technical instructions, and 14% offer instructional guides this year to help customers self-resolve more technically sensitive issues.

In terms of how the pandemic has impacted the operations of contact centers, 70% said they have downsized their call-center operations this holiday season due to COVID-19, and nearly a third of companies have implemented work-from-home options for at least 50% of their call-center staff.

As a result of these shifts, 69% of companies are looking to amplify online knowledge centers for more self-service options for their customers. Sixty-seven percent are implementing AI-driven technologies that help work-from-home agents remotely answer questions and resolve customer issues.

“This year’s holiday shopping season has already proved to be drastically different as a result of the pandemic, with a significantly larger pool of shoppers leveraging online channels,” said (Pete Martino, ResultsCX COO). “It’s equally important to offer self-service online customer care options for these shoppers, and to equip work-from-home agents with the tools they need to quickly and accurately resolve customer issues.”

1: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/23/retail-trade-group-forecasts-holiday-sales-rising-3point6percent-to-5point2percent.html

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