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Helpshift Performance Index: Customer Service Requests Peak During the Holiday Season, But Not Support Delays

By Zoë Edington
New Data Shows That Messaging-Based Customer Service Is Essential to Keeping Shoppers Happy Over the Holidays 
SAN FRANCISCO — November 15, 2018New proprietary internal data has been released today from Helpshift, the company whose AI-powered customer service platform enables consumer brands to message back and forth with their customers to get their questions answered efficiently. Helpshift’s inaugural Holiday Performance Index includes data from the company’s retail and e-commerce customers for the 2017 holiday season, defined as the dates between November 22, 2017 and January 1, 2018. The report provides insight into retail and e-commerce support inquiry patterns during the holiday sales surge and shows just how critical automations and self-service options are for keeping support operations running smoothly. The data showed that, while retailers saw a dramatic increase in customer service requests between Thanksgiving and Christmas, their customers didn’t see a corresponding lag in time to resolution.

Peak Holiday Sales and Support Times Differed by Primary Channel

Helpshift’s Internal data showed that peak holiday sales and support times differ for retailers in different channels. While both online-only brands and brands that are also brick and mortar saw an increase after Thanksgiving that continued into mid-December, online-only brands saw peak customer service requests on December 13:

  • This was 52 percent higher than the rest of the holiday season.
  • This was 129 percent higher than the remainder of 2017.

While brands that are both brick and mortar and online saw peak customer service requests on November 27, which was Cyber Monday (Black Friday was on November 24).

  • This was 65 percent higher than the rest of the holiday season.
  • This was 393 percent higher than the remainder of 2017.

Ticket Volume Up; Resolution Time Down

The large increases in ticket volume did increase the time to response for some brands during the holiday shopping season, but time to resolution actually decreased by 15 percent.

This can be attributed to the support automations these retailers utilized and to the seasonal additions they made to their support staff, which had a larger overall impact:

  • Online-only brands were able to manage 129 percent more requests with just 25 percent more agents during the holiday season.
  • Hybrid brick-and-mortar and online brands were able to manage 393 percent more requests with just 85 percent more agents during the holiday season.

Prepping for the Holidays with the Best Support Platform

Helpshift’s AI-based conversational platform allows brands to deliver fast, efficient messaging-based support in-app or on a website 24/7 — during both the holiday season and year round. Using Helpshift, brands have access to:

  • Seamless messaging-based customer service delivered on their website, within their mobile app, or through email
  • A conversational experience including scrollable history so that customers don’t have to waste time starting over, and re-engagement notifications to increase conversions
  • AI and bot-powered platform-wide capabilities including NLP-based knowledge articles, a highly-customizable bot-builder and AI-based classification and routing

“These faster resolution times amid higher ticket volume reflect effective strategy and planning on the retailers’ part — they staffed appropriately ahead of the holiday season. Yet thanks to digital support, they didn’t have to go overboard with headcount. With messaging, agents can respond to multiple issues at once and benefit from tools like self-service and routing optimizations, especially for repeat questions,” said Linda Crawford, CEO of Helpshift. “Tensions run high during holiday shopping and brands can’t afford to deliver anything less than excellent customer support during the crunch.”

About Helpshift

Helpshift bridges the disconnect between conventional customer service channels — such as email and phone support — and a growing consumer base that does more on mobile phones and has a strong preference for messaging as the primary mode of communication. Through Helpshift’s AI-powered support platform, companies can resolve issues more efficiently, boosting customer satisfaction in the process. Companies such as Xfinity Home, Microsoft, Tencent, Supercell and hundreds of other leading brands use the Helpshift platform to provide messaging-first customer support. Helpshift is installed on two billion devices worldwide and serves more than 820 million active consumers monthly. To learn more about Helpshift, visit helpshift.com and follow @helpshift on Twitter.

Contact for Helpshift

Stacey Grimsrud, 415-271-1028
Stacey@bospar.com