With a few days left in June, retailers are already busy discounting and moving out barbecues, patio furniture and other summer merchandise in anticipation of back-to-school season.
Merchandise, however, is not the only concern for shop owners when it comes to the upcoming shopping peak - many are concerned about how their customer service departments will be able to handle the influx of customer questions and concerns.
J.C. Penney, for example, reported it was hiring more than 500 customer service agents for online customer support positions in anticipation of the back-to-school online shopping rush. AnswerDash CEO William Colleran, however, believes that website self-service options are more sustainable than hiring hundreds of support agents before an influx of shoppers flood the call center.
"It's simply unsustainable to hire more support agents as customer numbers and queries grow," said Colleran. "Hiring more agents is a Band-Aid for a bigger underlying problem, not designing online help with the user in mind. Consumers are shopping more online because their time has become increasingly stretched thin. During the 2014 holiday season alone, 61 percent of shoppers in the U.S. did more than half their holiday shopping online, and these numbers are projected to increase."
On top of the explosive growth in online shopping, consumers are increasingly expecting a seamless online experience. Forrester data show that 55 percent of U.S. adults are likely to abandon their online purchases if they can't find a quick answer to their questions.
"By helping visitors successfully achieve their goals online, self-service help offers a more viable solution for both the consumer and the retailer," said Colleran. "With self-service support, online retailers will ultimately increase sales because successful customers make more purchases when they can solve their own problems quickly. AnswerDash is at the forefront of online self-service customer success, empowering users with quick and convenient answers."
According to Colleran, AnswerDash provides a first line of defense for handling customers' online questions, right where they have them. For example, when a user has a quick question about the pricing tiers for a service, the user can click on anything on the Web page that sparked their question, such as words or images, and see all the questions related to that object of choice.
"This capability means that users don't need to stop what they were doing to visit the FAQ page or search the website," said Colleran. "Rather than picking up the phone to dial a customer support agent, and inevitably being placed on hold or going through an automated system, users can get their questions answered within the context of a webpage with the simple click of a mouse. AnswerDash is an online customer service solution that helps consumers accomplish their goals on their own, creating success for both the consumer and the online business."
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