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Jim Agger
 
December 1, 2014 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), eCommerce | Jim Agger

Preparing online customer service for the holidays

With the busy holiday season upon us, far more visitors will come to your website looking for the right wine for their holiday dinners or as gifts for family and friends.  Here are some tips to have your winery ready to handle the increase in business.

Everything out the door
The timely shipping goods is critical during the holiday season.  One of the ways of assuring customers that their orders will be received on the right day is to create a calendar of shipping deadlines, and have a link to it in prominent places within your store's website.  When customers are looking for goods online during the holiday season, one of the first things on their minds is when the order will be delivered, as well as the last possible day for them to place an order. You will also want to be in touch with common shipping carriers such as UPS and FedEx to find out their deadlines for delivery. Once the calendar deadlines are confirmed, you should have that calendar up before the holiday shopping season begins so customers are aware well in advance.

Another area to be mindful of is the packing material. You likely already have premium-grade material being used because of the fragile nature of glass bottles. However, as logistics firm SumAll notes, it doesn't hurt to spend a little bit more on the best possible packaging resources, so that way you can have a greater assurance that the bottle of wine your customer ordered doesn't get broken during shipping.

Keeping the lines open
There may be times when a customer is frustrated with his or her shopping experience.  You want to make sure that customers are able to connect with you as much as possible during the season. Retail Online International recommends keeping an eye on social media outlets for people talking about your products and their shopping experience.

You can assign a person to monitor social media outlets at all times during the holiday shopping season. Having someone man Twitter or Facebook accounts to watch for issues as they appear and intercede with assistance as needed.  That way, you are on top of any situation they may arise. 

Communication is a critical aspect of the holidays when it comes to customer service. While social media helps, you need to prepare for an increase in incoming calls and email messages. You should display your phone number and email address in a prominent place on your site. The faster you are able to respond to inquires, the better your service will be.

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