Black Friday: a day synonymous with sales and crowds. We see the chaos in the shops, but not what’s happening behind the scenes, or what customers are doing in the lead-up to the big day.
Customers will behave very differently before, during and after Black Friday. And so they’ll expect you to communicate with them in very different ways: webchat, video or face-to-face.
So how do customers behave, and how do they expect you to respond?
Organisations that do well think about the whole journey
Our whitepaper, The omni-channel swap shop, reveals three ways customers behave (and how at different points they’ll behave differently):
• Visionary. This is where they’re researching, or just looking around. They want to be inspired and informed in equal measure.
• Utilitarian. Now they just want to get things done: buy the product or sort out their account details. They want to do something quickly and efficiently. They don’t want the sales pitch.
• Customer in crisis. Quite simply, this is where something has gone wrong. They’re angry, and they want it sorted.
When thinking about Black Friday, it helps to imagine a single customer going through their whole experience with you, and touching on all three of these behaviours.
In the lead up, they’ll be visionary
Before Black Friday, your customers will hit your site, research their options, read reviews, and ultimately make a decision. They know they’re going to buy, but they haven’t decided what yet. This is the time to influence their decision, and persuade them.
But they might not always shop in the way you imagine. When people are researching, we’ve found that 42 per cent of customers are more likely to go straight to YouTube, rather than a search engine. And almost three quarters wouldn’t mind seeing demos of products over video chat.
This is a great opportunity to build trust with your customer, and it’s especially important for the younger generations. Our research found that 67 per cent of 16-34 year olds preferred to get help about products and services from other consumers to phoning the company. And 64 per cent of the same age group say they trust reviews or forums more than a brand’s site.
But you’ll need to make sure your employees are up to date, and well informed. Around 70 per cent of people think the reason agents put them on hold is because they don’t know the answer. Nearly three in five people say agents don’t know what’s on their own website, or that they’ve known more than the agent about the product.
On the day, they’ll be utilitarian
That same person who was researching before, now switches to utilitarian. They’ve made their decision, and they want a smooth experience. They expect you to give them fast, hassle-free service.
And however they get hold of you, they’re going to expect your systems to be linked up. In fact, they expect you to see their full record when they phone in (83 per cent). So you need to be joined up, not siloed.
But they might also be a customer in crisis
Imagine your website crashes half-way through an order, or they buy the wrong thing. Those million-in-one-chance bugs are guaranteed when you have a million people visiting your site.
But this could be an opportunity, too. If your customers have a fantastic experience with you when they’re in crisis, they’re going to keep coming back. They might even write or film a review.
Have you made it easy to contact you, though? 81 per cent of people want a phone number to get help on every webpage. And two thirds want web chat on every page. People want that human touch when they’re frustrated - they want to talk to someone and get help instantly.
In the aftermath, you’ll have all three
Black Friday doesn’t stop at midnight. Your customers will still be tracking orders, taking back misguided purchases, or dealing with problems. Meanwhile, all your usual customers return. And start the process all over again. So it’s about the whole experience.
A customer might be a utilitarian shopper on Friday, and back into visionary mode over the weekend. Your customers are constantly cycling through these behaviours. And your experience needs to be consistent between them all. Because on Cyber Monday, all this will be starting again.
Remember, Black Friday isn’t the only time people go through this journey. And if you’re multinational, you’ll also have to deal with Single’s Day in China.
If you want to know more about what people want at each stage, you can read our research. Or see how we can help you with your customer relationship management.