This Black Friday is going to be a cracker, I can tell. I’m not joining the other millions of Brits and queuing up outside shopping centers ready to dive in when the doors finally open. I’m an amateur table tennis player, I’m not built to fight and tussle with big guys for a large screen television. No, this year I’m doing it properly.
I’m going to find my bargains online…
This year I want, no NEED, an Oculus Rift Quest. This, to any gadget fan is the holy grail of affordable VR systems and it doesn’t even need a separate PC to run the games; it’s all run from the headset. Now this is a fairly new gadget so I’m not expecting huge discounts, but every little bit helps. And if it keeps my 5-year old busy on our Manchester bad weather Fridays, then this could even be like temporary childcare for him. I’m joking about the childcare part, but any parent will tell you that a gadget can provide 10 minutes of much needed peace and quiet. I’ve also seen a news flash about the new Creed VR Boxing game being released; this gadget is going to make me fitter, slimmer and more attractive to my wife too. This Oculus Rift Quest could actually make my life better!
Right, so I need my bargain sites: Amazon, Currys, Overstock, Alibaba (there are many more). I also need to check Google’s own price runner sites to ensure I’m getting the best deal. I’ll open multiple tabs to compare prices. This bargain hunting for Black Friday is going to be conducted with military precision. And I don’t want the standard 64GB version. I want, no NEED, at least the 128GB version. And what about the official carry bag to protect it? There are so many decisions to make this is now getting really stressful.
Learn more: Test Automation for the Retail Industry
But what about customer service?
How do I know I’m buying the official stuff unless I go to authorized dealers? What about warranties? Some of the sites may be cheaper, but I might not get a warranty past its first year anniversary. This could mean that I may only get 12 rounds of boxing out of it before I need to replace it. I think I’m pretty good with technology, but I don’t have the first clue about how to fix a VR headset. It’s not like the old days of technology where a faulty radio could be fixed with a decent bang of the hand.
So my strategy has to be more than just a mouse click. I need to also have a solution that involves telephone calls to customer service agents. This way I might be able to haggle even more or at least get free delivery by getting them to price match. I can mix 21st century methods with my Cicchelli 20th century haggling skills.
But what about if I was to sit on the other side of the fence?
What’s the most important thing to gauge from a customer service perspective?
Firstly, I’d need to ensure that customers can access our teams at peak times, no matter what communication method they use.
Second, I’d need to make sure that I (or the contact center agents) have all of my information to hand, with knowledge bases, CRM integration and any training guides. What are the upsell opportunities? Could I add extended warranties, finance and accessories – and what questions would need to be asked to get the best information from the customers?
Third, even though the majority of customers are now shopping online (or at least getting the best pricing and deals), how do companies ensure that their company is the first that they think of?
Now I’m an Amazon Prime member, so I normally look there first. Not usually because it is the cheapest. There are other retailers, particularly on high-end tech, that are cheaper. I shop with Amazon because they guarantee free next day delivery and let me track my package.
If after receiving the package, Amazon, or any other retailer, contacted me to ask how the product was performing, to share some new features, or upsell me on accessories – that, for me, would be better than customer service. That would be customer excellence.
Retailers: Are you sure you’re ready?
Retailers, can you honestly tell me that you have tested your call center traffic at maximum peak levels throughout your working day?
Are you being smart with your data and how do you use that data to ensure a smooth customer journey?
Have you tested your integration with back-end systems at peak times?
Every retailer now plans for Black Friday, but have you PROVEN you’re ready for Black Friday? That’s the big question, my friends.
Enjoy Black Friday whichever side of the fence you sit on, but don’t go into it unplanned…
About the author
Paul Cicchelli is an Enterprise Strategic Account Manager for Empirix who specializes in testing customer and monitoring customer contact solutions with many household names reliant on the solutions and people that Empirix provide. Paul is also an amateur table tennis player officially ranked in the top 80 in England in his age group.