What the 2020 Holiday Season Reveals About the New Role of CX

What the 2020 Holiday Season Reveals About the New Role of CX TW

2020 likely changed the CX industry for good, and there may be nothing more ill-advised than to ignore the lessons learned during the past year. The twists and turns were endless, but the holiday season presented a whole new set of challenges. What is already a stressful time of year, was now uncharted territory.

In an effort to understand more thoroughly how retail and e-commerce CX organizations were impacted during the 2020 holiday season, and how the customer service landscape has shifted compared to the previous year, Kustomer went out and surveyed over 100 CX professionals. Read on for a preview of our findings, and download the full report here.

New Normal, New Challenges

An increase in inquiries was not the only challenge that CX organizations faced during the 2020 holiday season. Retail and e-commerce organizations were also facing limited staff, frequent shipping issues and more challenging inquiries.

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Additionally, most of the challenges that these teams faced were even more intense than during the previous year. More than half of respondents reported that wait times, shipping issues and challenging inquiries all increased year-over-year, while just under half of respondents reported more unhappy customers, more digital inquiries, and less resources to resolve issues.

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At the same time, CX organizations were expected to provide quick AND personal support. Doing more with less was the name of the game during the 2020 holiday season, putting an immense amount of pressure on agents.

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CX Throughout the Buyer Journey

According to our research, it appears that both businesses and consumers are starting to adopt a new mindset around the role of CX. Support inquiries were split somewhat evenly across the customer journey during the 2020 holiday season, surprisingly with the least percentage of inquiries coming post-transaction.

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The most frequent inquiries that CX teams received during the 2020 holiday season truly spanned the customer journey, with most seemingly coming pre-transaction, when consumers had questions about products they were considering.

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As was previously discussed, a whole new demographic of buyers were forced to do their shopping online, and leaned more heavily on customer service teams to feel comfortable and confident about their purchases. While post-transaction support, like order status and return initiation, likely will never subside, CX teams can now take on more of a revenue-generating advisory role, answering product questions or directing customers to better alternatives.

It’s important to take this new role into consideration when planning out a holistic CX strategy. These more consultative conversations will require more time and knowledge. Perhaps this means that more busy work can be delegated to technology. Perhaps this means that the “measure of success” for agents must expand beyond just handle time. Perhaps it is necessary to share the information received from customers with the product or marketing teams, to improve the website experience or optimize product development.

The role of CX has transformed dramatically over the course of the past year, and some of these shifts are likely to stick for good. While this could mean more work for CX organizations, it also means that CX now has the opportunity to not only build customer relationships, but impact an organization’s bottom line.

Check out our full report for details on how inquiry volume increased, what returns season looked like, and how retailers coped during this extraordinary holiday season.