Forget Black Friday, prepare for the aftermath, Crimson warns retailers

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Retailers need to pay as much attention to preparing themselves for the days and weeks that follow Black Friday, as they do to the day itself.

That’s the message from retail solutions provider, Crimson, as it launches its new application to the retail market, designed to unify retail call centres and help prepare businesses for the aftermath of enquiries following the busiest period of the retail calendar. This year’s Black Friday is expected to mark the UK’s first ever £1 billion pound shopping day, meaning that call centres will be braced for a record number of incoming and outgoing communications.

Crimson’s Unified Service Desk application can give retail call centre agents a unified view of all customer service data stored within their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application, putting important information at their fingertips, and preparing them for the onslaught of enquiries that typically follow Black Friday and other peak shopping periods.

According to Simon Chave, one of Crimson’s founding directors, and a nationally renowned specialist in retail IT transformation, it is the days and weeks that follow Black Friday that present as much of a challenge as the day itself.

He explained: “There’s no doubt that Black Friday itself presents a huge challenge to omnichannel retail businesses, and it is essential that call centres work together with their IT departments to strengthen their eCommerce and contact systems, but the work does not end there.

“Call centre operatives need to be prepared for the time following Black Friday, when support consultants are likely to take a huge number of calls regarding returns, refunds, new orders, existing deliveries, faulty goods, and other issues that are common with retail’s busiest season.”

The advice from Crimson is for retail businesses to review their existing people, processes and systems to make sure that they are all aligned in time for Black Friday and the weeks that follow. The business is also urging omnichannel retail businesses to ensure their call centres are equipped with the applications they need to put customer information at their fingertips, which is vital for delivering high customer service and engagement levels.

Crimson’s Unified Service Desk application makes it possible for call centre operatives to work on multiple sessions simultaneously, displaying information in multiple browsers for both inbound and outbound enquiries. It makes it possible to instantly search existing CRM data held in Microsoft Dynamics CRM applications on any one customer, including previous orders, emails and enquiries.

Chave points out that the challenge of Black Friday also presents a huge opportunity for retailers, and reveals that an application like Unified Service Desk can also provide retailers with the data they need to upsell and cross-sell to Black Friday customers.

“Don’t forget, Black Friday is quickly followed by Cyber Monday, so call centres will be expecting to hit full capacity,” he said.

“While this presents a major challenge, by segmenting Big Data into Little Data with something like the Unified Service Desk, retailers can also raise their customer engagement levels and boost customer retention, by upselling and cross-selling additional goods whilst responding to an enquiry, based on an individual customer’s unique buying habits.

“Preparation is key. Retailers are spending a lot of time making sure inventory levels are correct, and that their systems can cope with a demand influx – supporting their call centres in the days that follow Black Friday is just as important.”