UK retailers who cannot handle the Christmas rise in demand for customer service risk losing their share of a market put at £5.5bn, according to software company Eptica.
That rise, says Eptica, which specialises in customer interaction solutions, could be by as much as 400% at a time when sales could potentially rise by 5% at the same time.
It points to the trend for contact centres to be inundated with customer enquiries in the run up to the festive season. The time taken answering many, similar, questions (FAQs) can lead to slow service and frustrated customers at what is the busiest season of the year for many retailers.
In the run up to Christmas, it says, retailers can see customer enquiries rise by four times, with more than twice as many inbound emails as usual. And the spike in customer enquiries can start building as early as September.
Eptica's research shows that by reducing inbound FAQs and responding to customer enquiries more efficiently, retailers can increase sales by 5% on average.
Dee Roche, European marketing director at Eptica, said: "We looked at before and after scenarios at 280 organisations across a wide range of sectors and found a similar uplift in sales. This is achieved by businesses using increases in efficiency as an opportunity to redeploy customer service resources to sales conversion activity and on delivering high quality service and advice to help potential purchasers.
"These benefits can only be realised by diverting low value questions away from customer service agents.”