Black Friday has always been a huge deal for retailers, and that doesn't change this year. What does change is everything else (almost). The fact is that companies have never faced a landscape like this on one of the biggest days of their year. And unfortunately for businesses that are struggling to adjust and adapt, customers are no more patient than they were a year ago. Our Benchmark research consistently shows that customers will take their business to a competitor after a single negative experience.
The good news is, there are steps that organizations can take to create a smooth customer experience this Black Friday.
Deliver the in-store experience - online
Consumers are going to have the same expectation of the great service they get when they're actually in a brick and mortar establishment. But they're going to want it online, and they're going to expect to be able to communicate via channels that retailers maybe haven't relied on in the past. More than ever, customers will want to use messaging to talk to companies — WhatsApp or SMS, for example. In past Black Fridays, retailers never really had to accommodate this because most interactions were happening in their store.
You would typically greet your customers at the front door for a big retail event like this. In 2020, be prepared to greet them, but in real-time digital interactions.
Invest in CX
We have brand-new data from an upcoming research report that shows organizations who invest in their customer experience (CX) have a real opportunity to grow. It finds that 75% of customers will spend more to buy from a company that offers a good customer service experience. Retailers have invested so much in that awesome in-person experience — now they have to translate the CX they've created into every support channel.
If a company isn't already using AI or chat, and if they don't have a strong self-service experience, now is the time to make that investment. Customers are likely to be doing everything online. While some of them will have questions on the phone, others will expect to be able to pull up your website on a laptop or their phone and instantly chat with you.
Still others love your products but don't want to communicate at all. They will appreciate — and expect — a robust help center where they can find the answers they need without interacting with a human.
Work out the kinks in advance — Black Friday should not be launch day for a new channel. Companies must be up and running, and ready to deliver that same level of customer experience as always in an all-online environment. Organizations tend to plan based on how they think consumers are going to act, because they've learned how people tend to shop and interact after years and years and years of behaviors. This year throws up a lot of question marks.
To work with that uncertainty, retailers must be fully ready to talk to customers in whatever channel they choose. That is the Black Friday CX in a nutshell.
Don't write off the potential for great in-store turnout. Or at least more than you might expect. So many months into this pandemic, people are craving connection and the many things that have been lost and taken away from them. The desire for the Black Friday tradition, among those customers to whom it's a special, might drive them to come out and make the most of all the safety protocols you've set up for in-store visitors.
However, this year's Black Friday is far more likely to be the most digital Black Friday of all time. Translating your dedication to great customer experience to support channels like messaging and chat, and working out the kinks ahead of time, will go a long way toward a successful weekend.