Customer service this sale season: Don't let the pressure get to you



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White Friday is one of the most popular shopping campaigns of the year, with consumers around the world eagerly awaiting the chance to score big deals on their favorite products. However, for businesses, White Friday can also be one of the most challenging times of the year. In this article, Kesmat Eldeeb, Content Marketing Manager at CEQUENS, shares some tips on how businesses can ensure that their customers have a positive experience during the Middle Eastern equivalent of Black Friday; White Friday.

In 2021, online sales on White Friday in MENA saw a slight decrease from $9 billion in 2020 to $8.9 billion. As a marketer, what are your thoughts on the factors that contributed to this decrease?

This slight decrease can be attributed to several reasons, including the lingering effect of COVID-19 on consumer spending, the global supply chain crisis that impacted the movement of products on time, and of course, the rise of e-commerce in the region, which makes it more difficult for retail brands to stand out.

I think it is important to underscore that White Friday is often a promotional campaign that runs for more than just a “day,” which is something some businesses fail to capitalize on. Hence, although retailers didn’t experience an increase in numbers on the event of White Friday, we can say that sales grew in width. This means that more sales happened over an extended period of time for retailers who invested in pre-sales and post-sales promotions that engaged their clients for longer and opened the doors to new shoppers who weren’t necessarily shopping on the day. So, a great tip would be to think of promotional activities that engage customers for longer periods of time as opposed to focusing all attention on just one day.

What are some of the challenges that retailers in the MENA region face during White Friday?

Retailers often face high demand for their products during White Friday. This can lead to stockouts, long queues, and frustrated customers. Also, there is a lot of competition among retailers during White Friday, so it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. In addition, due to the large and diverse nature of the region, logistics can also be a challenge. White Friday is also a popular time for fraudsters. Retailers need to take steps to protect their customers' data and prevent fraud.

Lastly, with so many customers shopping on White Friday, retailers need to be prepared to provide excellent customer service. This includes answering questions, resolving problems, and processing returns.

Let’s talk a bit more about fraud prevention. What are some of the best practices that businesses can use to prevent fraud? Do you have any specific recommendations?

Retailers and customers both have an active role to play in preventing fraud during high season. On the retailer's side, they can use secure payment processors, monitor for suspicious activity, and educate their staff on how to spot and report fraud. Customers can also take steps to protect themselves, such as shopping from reputable sources, looking for secure websites, and using strong passwords. Businesses are strongly urged to enable Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), which adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to enter a code from their phone in addition to their password. Additionally, customers should make sure to review their bank cards and bank statements regularly for any unauthorized charges and report any suspicious activity immediately.

My last tip is to trust your gut. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remember that scammers often try to take advantage of the excitement and urgency associated with White Friday deals.

What are some marketing strategies that retail businesses can do to ensure optimal performance this year?

I advise retailers to recognize that nowadays, customers are not only price-sensitive, but they are also experience-sensitive, which makes it all the more important to focus on implementing solutions that are omnichannel, intelligent, and data-driven. Solutions such as AI-driven chatbots and campaigns provide contextual support and information that encourage potential customers to take the next step in the buying process. Businesses should leverage solutions that enable scale while prioritizing personalization.  

I am personally a fan of communications that keep me informed about the whereabouts of my orders and estimated delivery times, which reduces any post-purchase anxiety that can take place during shopping high seasons. Finally, I urge all retail businesses to protect their data and safeguard it against fraud using top-notch verification and authentication solutions that are intelligent, customizable and convenient for their customers.


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