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That Time of Year: Black Friday Hopes And Fears Are Here Again

Albert Einstein is often credited as once saying:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Whether he actually said it or not doesn’t really matter – it’s attributed to Einstein because it’s exactly the sort of statement he would make. A man with a brilliant mind who identified the failing logic of trying the same solution over and over again and expecting that this time it might work out.

But here we go again. We are just weeks away from Black Friday 2021 and this year should be much bigger than last year because most COVID restrictions have now been lifted. However, take a look at the business journals to see the latest advice on getting customer care teams ready for the holiday season.

Here is a good example – this advice can be summarized as four top tips:

  1. Prepare early
  2. Support more channels, not just voice calls
  3. Hire more people
  4. Outsource everything to a contact center specialist

People really publish this as advice? If this is not just doing everything the same old way and hoping for a better result then I don’t know how else to describe it. When I published my GigCX book at the start of this year I included a chapter on this seasonality problem and I found pretty much the same type of advice everywhere. Hire more people, cancel overtime, get everyone to work harder. Hope for the best.

As if any of these ideas can really cope with a spike where your customer interactions may increase by several hundred percent just for one or two days. Who is seriously going to expand their contact center from 100 seats to 500 just for a busy weekend?

When I featured on this podcast in June we heard the real-life example of New Age in Canada. They had never once managed to cope effectively with Black Friday, no matter how much they asked everyone to pull together. They were making customers wait almost an hour to have calls answered. These are customers calling with their wallet open – imagine how many just give up? Once they deployed GigCX on top of their core customer service processes – in time for Black Friday 2020 – they were answering calls in seconds.

Business journals like Forbes are already warning that the sales and holiday season this year might be a disaster – they are calling it “shipageddon.” Supply chains are making it difficult to obtain enough items to ship on time which says to me that customer care lines are going to be even busier than usual this year – added to the post-COVID boom.

The US has over 55 million gig workers. The labor is out there. You don’t need to make all the same mistakes year after year. You don’t need to just shrug and say that Black Friday is always like this – we can never answer all the customer calls.

You simply cannot ignore that the people are out there and available to work on your customer care processes. Don’t ignore them and accept that your customer care cannot change.

You don’t need to scrap any of your existing customer care processes. If you have an internal team them just augment them with GigCX when you need extra capacity. Listen to that podcast I mentioned earlier, or check out this summary of the discussion. If you work with a BPO contact center specialist then you can maintain that relationship – just build extra capacity on top of what they offer by using a gig platform. It’s simple and it works.

If your plan for Black Friday 2021 is to follow any of those articles that suggest little more than hoping for the best then good luck – your competitors will be answering the calls you are not taking.