Black Friday - Are You Ready?

It's patently clear that this American import has gained huge popularity this side of the pond. Black Friday has dominated television, magazine and online adverts all week. Naturally, retailers will seize all opportunities to increase sales and many consumers grasp the chance to get themselves a pre-Christmas bargain.

So, is it a win-win situation? That depends on your customer service. If all your efforts have been put into advertising and none into preparing your staff for the ensuing chaos that Black Friday may unleash, then you are likely to end up with unhappy customers and very stressed employees. Don't despair, there are things you can do.

Preparation is key! Make sure your staffing levels are appropriate and your staff are equipped with all the resources they need to fulfil customer expectations. Ensure your employees are well-versed on product information and availability and fully know the details of the offers. Though it is tempting to conceal the best deals from everyone in order to maximise their impact and to keep competitors in the dark, your employees cannot perform to the best of their ability if they are equally surprised by the offers.

Expect the best but be prepared for the worst. If supply or quality issues do emerge, ensure you have as many automated processes in place as possible to minimise the pressure that these problems would place on your contact centre or operational staff. Anticipate queries by posting appropriate messages or apologies on your website. Where possible, contact customers directly to inform them of the problem before they contact you and increase the burden on your customer service representatives. Burying your head from any emergent issues will only store up greater problems in the future and will undoubtedly do more to damage your company's reputation than facing up to the problems head on.

Time's running out. Do all you can to ensure you're match fit for the big day!