Good customer service is an important factor in gaining loyal customers, especially over the holidays. 55% of online shoppers say a past experience with a retailer is a factor when choosing which online retailers to shop with over the holidays, according to a Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights survey of 1,137 online consumers in January 2021. Plus, 37% of consumers say if online retailers offered better customer service, they would buy even more online.

This is one of the main reasons why many merchants strive to go above and beyond with customer service all year—in hopes of the shopper returning to make purchases again for themselves and as gifts during the all-important holiday season. Candle merchant The Candle Lab, for example, sends out personalized videos to each customer after she makes a purchase to build excitement and connect with shoppers.

“We give our staff a lot room to use their best judgement on how to become the best part of the customer’s day,” says owner Steven Weaver.

But maintaining good customer was no easy feat in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic disrupted many aspects of ecommerce, including product supply, warehouse operations and fulfillment. All of these challenges meant shoppers flooded customer service teams with questions about when products would be back in stock, how they can return online orders with stores closed and the ever-popular: Where is my order?

Customer service call volumes increased 69% during 2020 compared with 2019,  according to data from 15 retail clients using ResultsCX’s customer service platform. With such an uptick for the full year, it’s no wonder why customer service teams at most online retailers had their hands full during the 2020 holidays—the busiest shopping season of the year.  Retail customer service calls increased 183% year over year in November 2020, and increased 155% year over year in December 2020, according to ResultsCX.

Online marketplace Vivino, cosmetic web-merchant Birchbox and omnichannel retailer The Candle Lab share how their customer service teams navigated the challenges of 2020 and were able to use those experiences to help them better manage customer relationships during the critical holiday season.

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