You’ve experienced it all before. The last-minute CX strategy changes. The mind-bending prospect of thousands of customer complaints. The low-key dread and anxiety. Yes, it’s that time of the year: it’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
There’s never a dull moment as retailers collectively prepare for the peak week of the “golden quarter.” And this year’s might be more important than ever.
Economic concerns. Increased competition. Customer retention declining.
As a customer experience professional working for a retail or eCommerce brand, there’s arguably never been more pressure.
With prices roughly comparable between brands, and customers more doubtful of offers, providing a seamless customer experience will be what sets brands apart on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
But trust me, this article isn’t here to pile on the anxiety. It’s here to help.
As a Unified Customer Intelligence platform, we’re well-placed to help you understand why you need to focus on customer experience and what your customers actually want from this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday events.
To ensure your customer experience is fighting-fit for the coming holiday season, we’ve done three things.
- We’ve analysed the economic situation to provide insight into what it all means for retail and eCommerce brands.
- We’ve used our platform to analyse hundreds of thousands of real-world customer feedback from five leading fashion retailers to help you understand what retail customers actually want.
- And we’ve suggested some approaches to delivering the retention-driving customer experiences that are going to be critical to your brand’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday success.
Hopefully, by the end of reading this, you’ll have everything you need to deliver retention-driving customer experiences for your customers during the busiest (and most daunting) shopping event of the year.
Right, let’s begin.
How the recession will likely impact customer experience on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Research from Emarsys tells us that this year, more than one in five (22 per cent) consumers will increase their Black Friday spending from 2021 levels despite the cost-of-living crisis, with one in ten (10 per cent) using the occasion to complete most of their Christmas shopping.
Despite economic anxiety about the coming recession, consumers are likely to place more emphasis on buying products during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday events to get a good deal. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
We all collectively have less money in our pockets, and consequently, the importance of getting a good deal on our retail purchases has increased.
But there’s only so much businesses can do when it comes to price – especially as profit margins are already wafer thin.
- Focus on the customers you already have – because everyone will be competing for their attention across the weeks and months around black Friday and cyber Monday
- Understand what drives customers to buy, what causes them to churn, and where you need to improve CX in a way that positively impacts your customers
Most customers are beginning to see through the veneer of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, too. 62% of consumers said they don’t trust that Black Friday sale prices are any different to the rest of the year. As a result, consumers are now more likely (89%) to spend time comparing deals before purchasing products.
In other words, to win, you can’t focus on price promotions alone – especially as they are often roughly comparable to competitors. To succeed, you need to go beyond price cuts and deliver customer experiences that win and retain customers.
Why? Because according to PwC, 86% of buyers are “willing to pay more for a great customer experience”, 72% of customers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people (i.e. they’ll drive word of mouth), and according to Tidio, 23% of consumers say that they won’t shop with a business ever again after a bad experience on Black Friday.
In other words, getting customer experience right is critical to your business’ success during this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Before we delve into how to do that, let’s look at what we found out when we analysed hundreds of thousands of pieces of real-world customer feedback data.
What’s going on for retailers right now
Beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we’re seeing some very interesting changes in retail.
To find out what these changes are exactly, we analysed over 150,000 pieces of real-world public customer feedback from five major fashion retailers (ASOS, H&M, Next, Zara, and New Look) to discover what the key customer negativity drivers are for consumers today.
Unsurprisingly, delivery and refund issues are the biggest drivers of most negativity among consumers, with quality of customer care and return issues following close behind.
Interestingly, there’s some crossover between drivers of negativity and themes most closely linked to customers recommending a brand to their peers.
This gives us some insight into what we might need to do to deliver retention-driving customer experiences this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If we’re to retain customers and increase word-of-mouth about our offerings, we need to go beyond simply price.
Of course, we can’t quickly solve all issues before Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
But there are certainly some aspects we can look to improve – particularly around delivery, returns and customer care. Some useful intelligence on delivery based on our analysis of five major retail brands is shown below, which will give some indication on deliveries.
But for deeper insight, you need to analyse your own customer data to discover what’s driving negativity and positivity around these critical issues.
Which delivery providers are failing your brand’s customer experience? What are the biggest issues when it comes to customer care? Getting the answers to these questions has to start with unifying, analysing and understanding customer feedback across customer journeys.
Why customer feedback is critical to Black Friday success
As discussed, understanding what customers actually want is a critical component of making this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday successful.
The data from our analysis above gives us some indication on a broader scale, but to truly understand what’s driving negativity and positivity among customers, you need to analyse your own customer data – in addition to the publicly available data.
That starts with customer feedback.
Why? Because customer feedback is CX gold. It can be mined from a number of different sources. These include:
- Support tickets
- Chatbot conversations
- NPS responses
- CSAT responses
- Product reviews
- App store reviews
- Social media interactions
Chattermill can ingest this data using native integrations. But if you collect these data points using your own software, or the software you use isn’t listed on our integrations page, we can ingest the data using the software’s API.
What you could uncover from your customer feedback data:
- Shipping & Logistics: understand which providers are providing the best, most efficient service for customers (and those that aren’t)
- Returns: analyse historical data to understand what the biggest drivers of returns are
- In-store performance: analyse on a store-by-store basis – work out what’s going on where and where experiences need to be improved to encourage more sales, return visits, and retention
- Customer care: understand what your customers’ biggest issues are, and learn what the biggest drivers of customer negativity are when dealing with customer support
This isn’t, of course, a process that should be done for Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone. This needs to be an ongoing analysis, it’s only by doing this that you can make improvements to your customer experience that will lead to more long-term loyal customers.
Because if you invest in the right areas of customer experience during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you’re more likely to have happy and satisfied long-term customers.
Work smarter, not harder this Black Friday and Cyber Monday
At Chattermill, the goal is simple: to help you unify and glean meaningful intelligence from your customer feedback.