Ultimate Black Friday and Cyber Monday guide for eCommerce businesses

Black Friday and Cyber Monday guide

Introduction

When getting ready for the most significant industry event of 2020, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, eCommerce businesses should prepare for a more drastic surge in online sales this year due to the outbreak of COVID-19. For example, in the US alone, eCommerce sales increased by 30% between the first and second quarters of 2020.

As more consumers and businesses will choose to do Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping online, your online store will see an unprecedented influx of customers. This is undoubtedly an opportunity to grow your eCommerce sales. However, failing to satisfy an increasing demand for your goods – both physical and digital – can result in a lost reputation among your customers. 

So how can you get ready for this unprecedented surge in demand for online shopping to sell more and turn Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers into recurring buyers by providing better customer support? Remember that acquiring new customers is from 5% to 25% more expensive than keeping the current ones.

In this guide, we will explore how to ensure your customer support serves customers faster and creates a positive buying experience to bring more sales after the BFCM rush is over.

Prepare your customer support team for an influx in tickets

Your customer support team will be the busiest today, trying to handle an unprecedented number of customers’ requests. When tickets pile up and your agents don’t handle them fast, your potential customers can leave for a competitor’s store. 

Customer support agents start serving customers slower before Black Friday, bringing response time to 10 hours closer to Christmas.

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Source: Gorgias

Extend your knowledge base

According to Salesforce, 89% of millennials use Google to find answers before contacting customer support agents. This fact is one reason you have to brainstorm the topics related to Black Friday or Cyber Monday that your customers can have this year and extend your knowledge base before the rush hits.

Questions such as shipping returns and product availability will appear more frequently than before. Make sure your knowledge base has up-to-date information on these questions. Consider creating a subpage or folder in your knowledge base with Black Friday 2020 frequently asked questions.

Make sure you optimize the F.A.Q. pages for Google. Your customers will find answers to questions quicker by typing keywords in the search engine.

Extend your knowledge base

By answering as many questions before they even arise on the day of the great sale, you will help shoppers handle issues on their own faster. This approach will help free up time for your customer support team to answer more complicated requests.

Optimize the ticket submission process

Even though you can’t predict all possible questions customers will have on this day, you can still help customer support agents find the right answers to more complicated topics in less time.

Optimize the ticket submission process by asking shoppers to provide a more detailed description of their issues with additional mandatory text fields and multiple-choice questions. This way, you can help channel the ticket to the right customer support agent. They will have more information on the table to provide a customer with the correct answer faster.

Introduce specialization of agents by specific issues

As you would deploy all customer support resources and possibly hire more for Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, you can boost agents’ efficiency, response time, and ticket handling time if you have experts answer the questions. 

Introduce specialization by topic or customer segment by assigning specific question domains for agents to handle. Get agents to learn one or two topics inside out to provide customers with more effective and faster answers.

Invest in customer support training

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Prepare them for different situations

Black Friday is one of the hottest times for customer support when your agents might receive more atypical queries. Brainstorm possible problems and create a strategy to troubleshoot them with your customer support team.

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Organize procedures and workflows

Don’t leave your customer support agents with their notes after the training. Document all procedures that are new for them and give your customer support agents enough time to learn them. Keep your internal documentation in place for the agents to refer to during the Black Friday rush.

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Prepare initial training, advanced and recycling sessions

Extend your core training for customer support with additional training to refresh the knowledge and simulate possible situations together. Book more meetings with the agents to check if they can handle both simple and more complicated issues and check on the learned material.

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Prepare your team to enforce the workflow

Make sure your customer support agents know what to do when an atypical situation arises. Everyone will be busy handling different issues and won’t be able to help. Your agents need to have full ownership over their tickets and handle complicated situations on their own by making well-thought-out decisions.

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Double-check your helpdesk and live chat technology

Ensure your website can handle considerably higher traffic

When more traffic lands on your page, servers don’t handle the traffic volume. This Black Friday you should, by all means, prevent any technical issues with your online store! As eCommerce sales are predicted to grow by 20% in 2020, your business can have one of the highest eCommerce sales of the last decade during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

In 2017 in the UK alone, online sales spiked by +361% on Black Friday and +220% on Cyber Monday.

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Is your website ready for even more traffic this year?

Dig into technical aspects of your online store. Invite your in-house IT support or consider getting an external consultant who will analyze and test your store performance to introduce fixes where necessary.

Aim at minimizing any possible technical errors. When they arise, you lose time and money from the customers who would otherwise spend it in your store. This event can also cause your customers to write negative reviews and posts on social media spreading the word about your website downtime.

Make sure page speed stays high

Not only does it matter to ensure your page works uninterrupted, but also you should keep your page speed high for a better user experience. This might be the case that your customers complained about page speed in the past. 

On Black Friday with more traffic landing in your online store, the issue can exacerbate even more. Your shoppers won’t wait – page loading for up to 5 seconds causes a 90% increase in users’ probability of leaving the website.

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A good benchmark for your page speed is 3 seconds. If you can bring this time down even more, this is great!

Prepare a plan to deal with potential outages

You have already got your site ready for an influx of online shoppers on Black Friday. Can you be 100% sure everything will go according to the plan? Not really! If anything still gets out of your control, you will be left alone with some technical issues in place.

That is why you have to get some 24/7 tech support to handle these issues around the clock. Hire an external company that obliges to monitor your online store’s performance. Always have a plan B, especially for tech issues!

Shipping tracking and other important aspects

Shipping tracking

With international shipment and restrictions at the borders due to the pandemic, you will have to deal with shipping requests for quite some time after the Black Friday rush. Make sure your customer support agents are well-versed with the information about shipping delays. 

Your customer support agents should quickly check the shipping status and provide clients with additional information about the reason for the delay and possible date of delivery. Prepare for the situations of customers contacting your company to resolve shipping issues, not your shipping partners who deliver packages.

Consider setting up a page on your domain where customers can check their order status if you don’t have one yet.

Shipping tracking

Monitor inventory levels

Capitalize on inventory management before the rush hits. How can you make sure you have the exact necessary amount of goods at the right time? The thing is you can not predict it to 100%.

You can benchmark the data from the previous years. For example, in 2018, outwear was one of the most frequently discounted products during Black Friday. If you are going to compete with other brands in this product category, you should be ready for an increased demand.

The deals popular last year are no longer great this year – new trends can appear, and you will see a less popular item being sold out in the first minutes after the BFCM sale begins. Get a support agent who will analyze sales progress in real-time and can determine an increasing demand for some goods. Have them fill in the stock by ordering goods before your shop runs out of stock.

Plan for stockouts

What if you can not order the goods that are running out fast? Make sure you have a plan to offer customers other similar products. Create some chatbot scenarios to engage frustrated users who hadn’t caught their deal before others did.

Explain when a product will be in stock again and offer similar products. Get your customer support agents ready to answer additional questions about inventory and engage with customers further to help them choose something else to buy. You can also create a strategy for giving other bonuses or discount codes for the customers who want to get out of stock goods.

Transform returns into retentions

Black Friday is the time for compulsive buying when shoppers massively return the goods after calming down the next day. Get your customer support team to make a good impression on a customer that sends the purchased goods back. Get them to remember you and come back when they are ready.

The experience with returns affects the satisfaction levels of consumers. For example, the ease of refund accounts for 58% of customer satisfaction. The convenience of returning products is also crucial, as almost one-third of customers is satisfied if they can drop their packages at a convenient location. The customers who are happy with product return and refund can be more willing to come back.

return and refund
Source: Narvar

Embrace omnichannel support

Offer help on more channels

Let users decide what channels they want to get customer support agents’ help – phone, social media, live chat, or email. Tools like Aircall or Re:amaze help customer support teams connect with customers on multiple channels, connect to your other tools, and keep track of the message history across channels. Deploy a top team capacity where your customers might need your help.

Speed up ticket handling

With solutions such as Aircall, your customer support agents can get an instant overview of the customer history when they make a call or write an email. This way, your agents can cut the time of checking back on records and, as a result, provide a faster reply. With omnichannel customer support solutions for eCommerce, your agents can leave notes on specific contacts and easily hand them over to their colleagues. Working as one team will help reduce the time of handling tickets.

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Implement AI

Benefits of using AI chatbot

37% of customers prefer to start resolving their issues with a chatbot instead of waiting for three minutes to contact a customer support agent. Implementing AI in your customer support department can help reduce workload and keep your agents focused on the more complicated tickets where your customers need a human being to join a live chat conversation.

By offering your clients AI-powered chatbots, you help customer support agents resolve issues quicker, optimize the cost of running the customer support department, and route tickets to the right agent. Finally, the biggest superpower of AI is understanding the context of the questions and, as a result, giving a more relevant answer to a customer.

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How to implement chatbot asap: pre-built solutions

By implementing AI-powered chatbots, you can handle a more significant chunk of requests without involving a human being. However, building an AI chatbot from scratch will take lots of time to design, implement, and give AI time to grasp information and learn typical requests.

When you can’t afford to have your custom AI solution now or need to implement AI before the Black Friday rush, you can still use pre-built AI-powered customer support tools that you can install and configure just now.

Sketching the logic of conversation

With various pre-built solutions such as Chatcreate, you don’t need to have an IT degree to set your chatbot to action. Using a drag and drop editor, you can program the possible responses to the questions your clients might ask. 

Chatcreate screenshot

Brainstorm the goals your customers will want to achieve with your customer support department. Understand where your customers will need the most support and the right moment to contact a customer support agent. Then sketch the question logic you want your AI chatbot to follow.

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Set up a marketing campaign

Email marketing

Build anticipation by informing your customers of upcoming special discounts and deals. Segment your customer lists and send personalized messages depending on your customer’s previous interaction with the website or demographical criteria. 

For example, Sand Cloud Towels decided to send a “fat” offer to the subscribers who had opened the email in the last 90 days, but never purchased. 

If customers don’t buy when presented with this generous offer, one can assume they won’t buy anytime soon. Apart from activating customers that haven’t purchased yet, as a bonus, this approach also helps to identify whether to keep a subscriber on the list or stop contacting them in the future.

If you need help to set up everything last minute, choose to work with the agency that has been specializing in ecommerce marketing such as Chronos or others.

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Retargeting

Remember to set up retargeting campaigns to the landing pages specific for Black Friday offers. Don’t lose customers that were browsing and haven’t ended up buying. Follow them weeks after the Black Friday is over and nurture them for further purchases in your online store.

Retarget users with the products they have abandoned. Remind them about the abondoned products or offer an additional incentive to buy.

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Upselling and cross-selling

Come up with the marketing strategy to offer clients complementary goods during their buying process. Integrate smart chat messages that will give additional suggestions for products to check. 

Agree on the other discounts or bonuses that your customer support agents could offer when communicating with customers on different channels. Not only can you use dynamic chat messages, but also you can reach out to customers by email to motivate them for more purchases with special offers.

Encourage customers to spend more by giving a discount on the main product and offering complementary goods. Getting a deal for one product will keep customers more willing to pay more on the goods at a regular price.

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Influencer marketing

Establish cooperation with influencers from your industry and get them to promote your deals and discounts on their social media channels. Tailor unique offers for their subscribers and provide special coupons or discount codes. Agree with influencers to integrate a buying option in the brand content they will publish, such as swipe ups, product tags, and shoppable posts.

Here is an example of how the swipe up option, together with coupons, can be used to lead customers directly to an online store.

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Build anticipation on social media

Start Black Friday social media posts early to uncover your preparation for this day. Place countdowns to keep the excitement high. Inform your audience about special offers before Black Friday comes to get your customers time to make their minds about their purchases.

Customer support checklist

Let’s summarize the most important aspects for your customer support agents to focus on during the tremendous BFCM sale. Here is a brief checklist you have to cover with your agents before Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Keep shopping cart abandonment under control

No wonder that cart abandonment can be higher on Black Friday than usual as users get distracted with multiple offers online! You have to make sure your agents can review abandoned carts and have a strategy to engage churning customers to finish their purchase. They can use multiple triggers and channels – emails, social media, or live chat, to offer additional discounts or incentives for customers to finish their purchase.

Engage customers on product pages proactively

With tools like Gorgias, you can automate user engagement on product pages by setting conditional (if-then) rules. Understand what help customers might need when browsing specific categories. Next, come up with scenarios on engaging your customers when they are unsure about their purchase. Keep your customer support razor focussed on the questions where bots won’t help.

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Help with making payment

Don’t leave your customers disappointed when they can’t finalize their payment for some reason. Set automated triggers for customer support to give a helping hand when needed. Discuss the reasons for failed payments with your customer support agents and agree on the strategy for resolving them with customers.

Assist with shopping

Automate the messages offering complementary goods to customers who have just added some products to the cart. Trigger customer support to engage in the conversation and grant additional incentives to customers to increase cart value.

Deal with returns better

Your customer support needs to make sure returns are frictionless. Ideally, your customer should be able to initiate a return fast. However, don’t look at Black Friday returns as lost opportunities. While making a return easy from a technical perspective, make customers think twice by involving psychological triggers.

Get your customer support to discuss with customers if they want to change for another good of a similar value or different specifications. Most shoppers (57%) will still prefer to exchange the item in your online store.

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Failed payments recovery

You can expect most eCommerce businesses use similar templates for dunning payment recovery. However, its efficiency can be relatively low. Go for expert support to implement tried-and-tested templates that have a higher conversion rate than custom templates you can find only. Consider working with a partner such as LTVplus to help you recover more payments.

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