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Customer Service Requests Peak During the Holiday Season, But Not Support Delays

New data shows that messaging-based customer service is essential to keeping shoppers happy over the holidays.
Posted Nov 13, 2018
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New proprietary internal data has been released from Helpshiftthe company whose AI-powered customer service platform enables consumer brands to message back and forth with their customers to get their questions answered efficiently.

Helpshift’s inaugural Holiday Performance Index includes data from the company’s retail and e-commerce customers for the 2017 holiday season, defined as the dates between November 22, 2017 and January 1, 2018. The report provides insight into retail and e-commerce support inquiry patterns during the holiday sales surge and shows just how critical automations and self-service options are for keeping support operations running smoothly.

The data showed that, while retailers saw a dramatic increase in customer service requests between Thanksgiving and Christmas, their customers didn’t see a corresponding lag in time to resolution.

Peak Holiday Sales and Support Times Differed by Primary Channel

Helpshift’s Internal data showed that peak holiday sales and support times differ for retailers in different channels. While both online-only brands and brands that are also brick and mortar saw an increase after Thanksgiving that continued into mid-December, online-only brands saw peak customer service requests on December 13:

  • This was 52% higher than the rest of the holiday season.
  • This was 129% higher than the remainder of 2017.
  • While brands that are both brick and mortar and online saw peak customer service requests on November 27, which was Cyber Monday (Black Friday was on November 24).
  • This was 65% higher than the rest of the holiday season.
  • This was 393% higher than the remainder of 2017. 

Ticket Volume Up; Resolution Time Down

The large increases in ticket volume did increase the time to response for some brands during the holiday shopping season, but time to resolution actually decreased by 15%.

This can be attributed to the support automations these retailers utilized and to the seasonal additions they made to their support staff, which had a larger overall impact:

  • Online-only brands were able to manage 129% more requests with just 25% more agents during the holiday season.
  • Hybrid brick-and-mortar and online brands were able to manage 393% more requests with just 85% more agents during the holiday season.

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