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Mother's day

This year, Mothering Sunday falls on 19th March, meaning contact centres still have time to focus on getting Mother’s Day customer service right. The event isn’t just a chance to celebrate the importance of our mothers, but is also a major sales peak for retailers, florists and more. Demand is growing, particularly online, with e-commerce retailers seeing revenues increase by 22% year-on-year in 2022 in Benelux.

However, Mother’s Day isn’t simple for retailers to get right. Demand can be difficult to predict, while supply chain issues may mean many items are in short supply. And with many people sending flowers, there’s always the possibility that they’ll be damaged in transit or have elements missing. Even trusted brands can get it wrong and disappoint customers and their mothers, as shown every year by complaints on social media and negative news stories.

All of this puts the focus fully on Mother’s Day customer service. To ensure you have the right processes and resources in place follow these five best practices to help you prepare:

1. Analyse your data to plan effectively

While the date may change, Mother’s Day is an annual event. So, it’s essential to look back at your data from previous years. How many orders did you get? How many people left ordering to the last minute? What were customer service queries typically about? Were there particular products or areas that had a higher proportion of issues? Collaborate with other departments such as marketing to understand the special promotions they’ll be running in the lead up. How might that impact demand? All these insights can help ensure you have the right number of agents in place and that they are up to speed with the right knowledge at their fingertips.

2. Use hybrid working to manage staffing levels

Of course, it can be difficult to predict demand and ensure you have enough agents available to handle customer queries. But the switch to hybrid working in recent years makes coping with spikes in demand much easier. You can have agents on standby working flexibly from home, ready to log on when you expect queries to peak.

Also, look at your processes to prioritise those with Mother’s Day queries. For example, reprogram your IVR menu so that these callers can reach agents more quickly. Across digital channels use AI to analyse incoming queries for key Mother’s Day terms so that they can be prioritised by agents.

3. Be omnichannel and proactive

Increasingly customers want to be able to contact you on their channel of choice. So not only do you need to have enough agents in place, but you also need to ensure that the right blend of skills and resources are available. Offering live chat enables customers to quickly have a conversation with agents and share details and photos for example.

Be proactive. Ensure customers get a text or email to confirm that their order has been delivered. And given that social media is where people are likely to complain first, be extra vigilant about monitoring customer issues on these channels so that you can intervene early.

4. Collaborate across your suppliers

Often issues related to deliveries are outside your direct control, as they are completed by third-party logistics companies. However, your customers (and their mothers) don’t know that – and nor should they care. They’ve put their faith in you and expect you to get it right. So, plan ahead and ensure you can track and monitor what’s happening in your partners’ delivery systems. Have processes in place to enable your team to liaise directly with their customer service teams. You should be able to collaborate and find the best way to resolve any issues.

5. Make empathy a priority

Every Mother’s Day order is special to the person that sent it – and their mother that receives it. Ensure all customer service agents keep this top of mind and are empathetic and understanding. If there is a problem, agents should start with an apology. Empower them to solve any problem by taking ownership, such as chasing up late deliveries and grant them the ability to provide refunds if required.

Mother’s Day can potentially make or break your reputation with individual customers. Get customer service right, and you gain people’s trust for the long term. Get it wrong and it can affect whether they buy from you throughout the rest of the year. Therefore, ensure Mother’s Day customer service is well-resourced and planned to enable you to deliver on everyone’s promises to their mothers.

Helen Billingham