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How Will Digital Gifts Change Your Customer Support Strategy?

The holidays are full of magic. Glittering lights, parties, gifts, and goodies. We look forward to the cozy sweaters and special shopping trips every year. Yet instead of nicely wrapped boxes, this holiday season may find stacks of envelopes awaiting you and your loved ones.

Why? The global supply chain is backed up, leaving many retailers and e-tailers with less inventory than desired to satisfy the holiday rush. So savvy shoppers are likely to fill their shopping carts with gift cards, digital downloads, online subscriptions, and virtual experiences in lieu of traditional gifts this season. As more people adopt digital gifts, companies will need to similarly shift their support strategies.

While a strong support solution may not get those container ships docked and unloaded any faster, they can help your gift-givers and recipients alike make the most of other gift options. Providing knowledgeable, empathetic, and informative human support will go a long way toward keeping customer sentiment positive and rewarding their loyalty.

Given that gift cards and digital gifts may introduce a large number of customers to new products and services, merchants should be ready to assist that influx of consumers on all channels.

Provide instant web support via live chat. As consumers hit sites with a gift card or online subscription code burning a hole in their pockets, the first step is to ensure that one’s desktop and mobile sites make the redemption process intuitive. But equally essential is a clear path to customer support. Make available support agents who provide live chat services, and put that option front and center for shoppers.

By offering live chat support, you’re ensuring customers that you’re prepared to answer their questions and resolve their issues in real-time. They don’t have to abandon their shopping cart to phone or email your company, waiting minutes or hours for the help they need to complete their purchase. They’ll quickly get assistance and can continue the support conversation until their transaction is successfully completed.

Meet mobile app users where they are with in-app support. Consumer spending in mobile apps hit a record $64.9 billion during the first half of 2021. With the ability to offer push notifications and greater speed and security than a mobile browser, it’s no wonder merchants love in-app shopping. But to keep customers in the app environment, businesses have to offer all services within their apps. That’s where in-app support comes in.

Offering support directly within the app makes for a better overall customer experience. Remember, app users are already comfortable using mobile messaging services like SMS/text messaging, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. Integrate a help desk tool that matches your app’s look and feel, powered by human support, to achieve a seamless user experience. Support agents will have user information (about them and their devices) at hand, eliminating time-wasting questions and facilitating the support session. Having recognizably human assistance, as opposed to canned responses from AI-powered bots, will grant users ease of mind about their transactions.

Offer social support. The rise in social commerce makes a pressing case for offering social customer support. Once again, you’re allowing customers to reach agents on the platforms they’re already using, which minimizes frustration and mistakes. By placing support agents on your social channels, you’ll help protect your brand’s reputation by quickly responding to incoming questions. They can also go a step beyond, monitoring your social networks and proactively engaging with online customers to get in front of public-facing issues.

Phone and email are still essential. Of course, many online shoppers still prefer the tried and true duo of phone and/or email support for their questions and issues. When looking for a personal touch, it’s often hard to compete with traditional phone support. Nearly 7 in 10 people still report that talking to a live agent by phone is one of their top three methods of communication.

Similarly, email is still frequently used by those who prefer to contact companies digitally rather than via a phone support option. If your customer support team is properly aligned with the ebbs and flows of your incoming requests, email can provide timely (although not instant) resolution.

This holiday season, it’s imperative to greet the influx of new users that are eager to redeem their digital holiday gift cards, subscriptions, and gift codes. Providing informed human support across all channels will keep their shopping experience positive and encourage them to become repeat customers. That helps both companies and customers have a happy holiday season.

To find out more about how we help global organizations with their customer support needs, let’s chat.

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