How chatbots can help businesses handle top holiday shopping questions

During BFCM , support teams struggle to service all customers but chatbots can be a game changer by delivering VIP service at scale.
By
Étienne Merineau
November 5, 2019

When you combine the mania of holiday shopping with the surge of online traffic from all the people hunting for deals, the result is a flood of questions for your customer support team. Thankfully, automated chat can jump in here to ease some of the bulk, acting as the first point of contact and filter for customers. On Heyday’s platform, the average customer conversations last 2 minutes and 21 seconds. However, these interactions can go up to 10 to 15 minutes for bigger purchases, like mattresses or engagement rings.

Our data shows that, during the Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) peak, the number of support requests submitted by customers increases by 70%.

In fact, to handle the BFCM workload, one of our biggest retail clients literally doubled their team overnight, from 125 customer service full-time employees (FTEs) to 250. 


The good news is that most businesses are automating customer requests with virtual shopping assistants or chatbots. According to a 2018 Salesforce report, 69% of people prefer talking to a chatbot that can provide instant answers, instead of waiting for a human to process their request.

Wondering what customers are asking these chatbots? After consulting our conversation logs and data from some of Heyday’s top clients, here are the most repetitive questions 


  1. “What are your best deals?”
  2. “How do I apply a promo code?”
  3. “How fast do you ship?”
  4. “Where do you ship?”
  5. “Where’s my order?”
  6. “I need to make a return. What’s your refund policy?”
  7. “When are you open today?”
  8. “Where’s your store?”
  9. “I’m looking for a gift for my 55-year-old mother. What do you recommend?”
  10. “Do you have a gift-wrapping service?”
  11. “Can I get a gift receipt?”
  12. “Can I pick it up in store?”

Because these straightforward questions are so predictable and easy to answer, they can be handled by one of our chatbots in a pinch. Automating your company’s most commonly asked questions will also free up time for your human team to do more of the deep-thinking work and hand off the robotic work to the robots. 

“We are super happy with our new live chat solution. More than half of our customer conversations are now handled by our Heyday chatbot each month.” —Camille Ract, Customer Service Leader at DECATHLON

Beyond customer support

Chatbots can help re-shape your customer service offering from the ground up but it can also help you boost the effectiveness of your sales and marketing teams. At Heyday, we’ve seen a variety of use cases where chatbots can help augment internal teams to generate unprecedented results. Take a look at the 14 ways you can use AI-powered chatbots to drive acquisition, retention, and loyalty during the holiday season, with an emphasis on integrating Facebook Messenger.

Drive customer acquisition

  • Integrate product page buttons on your website to make communication easy and link clients to Messenger, where chatbot responses flow directly from the button. 
  • Leverage your Facebook page’s visibility by implementing a “Send Message” button and driving more conversations.
  • Kickstart the talk by having ads that trigger the Facebook Messenger bot instead of leading to a landing page.

Deliver VIP service at scale

  • Provide an instant VIP experience via a chatbot that can offer personalized service.
  • Use your brand’s social media following to your advantage by triggering bots when users comment on a post.
  • Gather data to boost personalization through fun and engaging quizzes within the chatbot.

Increase conversions

  • Make the most of the data you’ve collected by sending offerings tailored to a customer’s shopping habits, needs or wants.
  • Cater to high client expectations for assistance by connecting customers to sales reps directly inside the chat.
  • Make personalized product recommendations by asking precise questions to understand your customers’ personal preferences and current mood.
  • Cut down on huge numbers of lost sales by recovering abandoned shopping carts through Messenger.

Retain and engage existing customers

  • Add a little extra to the end of your transactional messages, like an exclusive promotion, to engage shoppers beyond the end of the sale.
  • Check-in with clients after their purchase to see if they need extra help with their item or get ahead of any potential dissatisfaction.
  • Loop back to people who have purchased products that need replacing after a predictable life cycle with a fresh new offer.
  • Get shoppers to sign up for loyalty programs that they will actually remember to use, thanks to helpful chatbot-generated reminders or updates. 

Save time and money with AI-powered chatbots

The cost of increasing your team of full-time employees (FTEs) to be able to handle the holiday season madness certainly isn’t cheap. If you want to find out more about how chatbots can help you win the day on Black Friday while significantly reducing costs, click here