We all know that the holidays season isn’t just sugar plums and snowmen — especially not for direct-to-consumer brands. Order volumes are high, seasonal policies and promotions are plentiful, and over 40% of revenue is on the line. And no one is feeling the pressure quite like customer support teams. We hosted a webinar with Caroline Nolan, CX Manager at Brooklinen, Nikole Hobson, Customer Operations Manager at Minted, and Anne Raimondi, Chief Customer Officer here at Guru to address these obstacles and highlight ways to set direct-to-consumer support teams up for success and sleigh the holiday rush.

Watch a recording of our conversation below or continue reading for our key takeaways.

 

Some key concepts we’ll touch on:

1. Strategies to ramp seasonal hires
2. Tips for sharing product and promotional knowledge
3. Best practices for keeping morale up and stress down
4. How to proactively create “wow” customer experiences

The majority of our audience polled at the beginning of our webinar responded that their support teams face significantly more challenges during the holiday season. 80% of respondents said they felt like internal communication could be improved across teams to ease these pressures, sustain strong customer relationships, and finish out the year on a high note. Let’s dig in on exactly how thriving direct-to-consumer businesses are preparing for this time of year.

Prepping your team & seasonal hires for the holidays

  • What’s the best way to structure your teams for the holidays? 
    • At Brooklinen, Caroline found that jumping up the headcount of their team isn’t what works for them. Instead, they see the whole year as holiday-prep, ramping up to ensure that everyone understands the ins and outs of their product. When in doubt, they can always call on other teams for some extra support :) 
    • On the other hand, Minted increases their headcount 5x during the holiday season, and their core team takes on more responsibility and leadership roles. How do they streamline onboarding such an influx of staff to their team? With a strong knowledge base. That’s where Guru comes in for Nikole and her team: “Since we started using Guru, it’s really been a game changer for us in terms of scaling our team because it enables members to lookup and bookmark the info that they need so they don’t necessarily have to memorize everything.” 

Key takeaway: Not everyone onboards seasonal staff. If you do, ensure that you have an onboarding software in place to streamline the process. If you don’t, localize your business' information to keep everyone on the same page. 

Share up-to-date information on season-specific promotions and policies 

  • Streamline your knowledge management system. In years prior, Brooklinen’s company knowledge was scattered throughout a mixture of different applications, leaving the team to sift through large amounts of information to get the answers they needed. Now that they’ve adopted knowledge sharing tools, they’re able to hold team members accountable and break that information up to make it more consumable. Keeping in mind that there’s lots of info coming at their team during this time of year!
  • Non-tech related strategies (such as morning team huddles) can ensure that everyone is starting off their day with the vital updates they need. 

Key takeaway: Utilize a knowledge sharing tool to centralize your collective information, and efficiently onboard new staff by gearing them up with the season-specifics that they need. 

How do your support leaders keep morale high? 

  • Consistent, open communication. Make sure everyone feels listened to. One-on-one check-ins and the sharing of positive customer feedback keep spirits up throughout the holiday season. 
  • Jam-pack this time of year with fun events for your support teams! Pizza parties and impromptu dress-up days help remind your team to take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. These kinds of morale boosters help energize your team to step up for your customers
  • Keeping empathy high. Acknowledging the struggles of the frontline team members & not taking core team members’ experience for granted. 

Key takeaway: Internal empathy = success! 

Empower your agents to deliver “wow” moments

  • Remember that your team has the power to “save the holiday” for your customers. Share stories of positive feedback amongst your team. Make a “wow” moment Slack channel exclusively for those feel-good moments. Reminding yourselves of the positive role you play in your end consumers lives will help motivate your team to continue going above and beyond. 
  • Empower your team to communicate effectively to allow your agents to deliver those “wow” moments time and time again. Using Slack integrations and other communications tools will help keep your team in the loop and give your customers the quality experience they deserve. 

Key takeaway: Reflect on what tools help cultivate “wow” moments for customers. Continuously share stories of success! 

That’s a wrap! You survived the holiday rush… now what?

  • Take a moment to reflect. Have a “hindsight meeting” across your teams to track learnings and important feedback, whether it's positive or something to work on in the future. Caroline pointed out that “You think you’re going to remember all the little things and you don’t,” find a method to track and store all that information to help address those same pain points that are bound to surface again in the new year. 
  • Celebrate a job well done! 

Final takeaway: Anne finished out the webinar reminding us of the bottom line: “In the end, we all want to be treated like a unique human.” Customers of direct-to-consumer businesses are unique because they are there for one reason: to be treated with a level of personal touch they can’t find anywhere else. Holiday rush or not, it’s our job to do all that we can to maintain that mission! 

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