Zendesk has revealed findings from its recent research into customer shopping habits around the holiday season.
In a time of rising cost of living issues, economic uncertainty, and looming recessions, the company found UK consumers are actively waiting for a chance to get the best deals.
In a poll to 300 UK respondents, Zendesk found 81 percent of these consumers are more likely to shop on Black Friday as concerns over costs of living accelerate. This means companies in the retail landscape are set to be busier than ever during the holiday period.
Given this landscape, 58 percent of consumers have said they’re willing to accept longer waiting times and delays. However, only 8 percent are happy to accommodate bad customer service. As such, Eric Jorgensen, the VP of Enterprise EMEA at Zendesk, believes:
“Now’s the perfect time for businesses to focus on improving their CX strategy.”
Preparing for the Black Friday Rush in 2022
The Zendesk poll revealed consumers are planning on using a multitude of different methods to purchase items on Black Friday this year. 70.3 percent of respondents said they would be shopping online, while 22.2 percent plan on shopping both online and in person.
Additionally, 81.4 percent of customers said they were waiting specifically for Black Friday to make their purchases, as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
Consumers are also less likely to show loyalty to a specific brand this year, with only 24.7 percent of respondents identifying brand loyalty as “important.”
According to Jorgensen, these findings suggest business leaders need to be more prepared than ever to deliver smooth service experiences during the sales period, if they want to reap the rewards.
When asked what would make them loyal to a brand, nearly 40 percent of consumers said they valued a strong and responsive level of customer experience.
Zendesk believes automation tools will come into play to assist businesses in meeting with customer expectations this year, with conversational AI front of mind for Jorgenson. He states:
“Chatbots are able to free up CX agents’ time by handling quick and routine questions, allowing agents to focus on complex requests and even upselling opportunities.”
Bots may also assist in suggesting the right product to a customer by looking at which products customers previously interacted with.
Also, as 68 percent of customers expect their returns to be free, it’s important to guide consumers towards the ideal purchase from day one, minimising long-term costs.
Planning an Innovative Black Friday
At a time where customers are struggling to make purchasing decisions with limited spending power, businesses must ensure they’re delivering the most streamlined and straightforward purchasing experiences to every client.
Jorgensen suggests tools like natural language processing (NLP) will be particularly helpful at mitigating problems, by tracking data like customer sentiment and helping agents to see which consumers have the highest churn risk.
“AI can even help prepare agents for angry customers by analysing and tracking data, like customer sentiment, which can enable agents to see who’s a high churn risk,” he adds.
Yet, ultimately, to capitalise on a peak retail season like Black Friday, companies need to plan carefully. Zendesk says this year, the focus for brands will be on striking the right balance between different areas of investment.
For CX, Jorgensen believes this means” choosing the right mix between human and automation” to ensure exceptional experiences.
Looking to delve deeper into Zendesk’s research? If so, check out our article: Customers Are Still Frustrated with Chatbots