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Cyber Monday means ‘talking nonstop’ for Zappos employees

Christmas cheer with a side of bubbly jumpstarted Cyber Monday for employees at Zappos.

The online retailer anticipates more than double the amount of customer interactions on a day that’s considered to be the last hurrah of a five-day stretch filled with holiday deals.

While consumers have taken advantage of traditional in-store promotions — lining up on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday for doorbuster items – online shoppers are on pace to spend a record $9.4 billion on Monday, up nearly 19 percent year-over-year, according to data from Adobe Analytics.

The analytics firm said the hours between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. are the most profitable, with almost 30 percent of Cyber Monday’s revenue concentrated during that time, as people try and score discounted merchandise before the deals end at midnight.

Zappos Senior Director of Customer Loyalty Team Rob Siefker said the call center will receive more than 18,000 contacts, or interactions, with customers by phone, live chat and email on Monday.

“That’s upwards of close to twice as much volume as a Tuesday in July,” Siefker said. “Today is one of the busiest days of the year for sure. So, we ask everybody to come to work today even if it’s normally your day off. We have to be extra prepared.”

This means all 500 of its call center employees are expected to work at its Downtown Las Vegas headquarters.

Siefker said the bulk of his staff are working between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“Right in the middle of the day is when we have the biggest amount of staff,” he said. “People are going back to work when they don’t really want to work…and so their attention is on shopping.”

Finer things

Employees spending an eight-hour shift fielding customer questions received their own getaway with a themed party dubbed “Finer Things.”

Walking inside Zappos’ employee café, staff were treated to a makeshift living room with a teal-colored velvet couch where they could watch holiday movies on a TV above a fireplace. Coffee drinkers could add a touch of Baileys to their free coffee drink or some champagne from the champagne fountain.

Employees could also enjoy finger foods or make their own gingerbread house as well as win prizes. There was even a champagne version of beer pong on a table nearby.

Roni Roberts, Fungineer at Zappos, said the team creates themed parties every year for Cyber Monday with this year’s taking about two months to plan. Last year looked more like Candy Land.

“If you can just have a little hideaway where you know you’re going to walk away with good food…maybe a shot of Baileys in your coffee, some prizes and a place to just sit down and relax—it helps you regenerate for that next half of the day taking those back-to-back calls all over again,” Roberts said.

She said the decorated room was geared towards its call center employees but is still open to its staff of about 1,500 workers, adding that every department is behind Cyber Monday from its tech to merchandising teams.

Roberts said prior to joining Zappos nine years ago her retail experience made her “a Black Friday person not Cyber Monday.”

“Black Friday is on your feet—go, go, go,” she said. “Cyber Monday is a strain on the vocal chords. You’re just talking all day nonstop. In a retail store you’re on your feet and you (can) get that massage but Cyber Monday you just have to be silent for awhile.”

Contact Subrina Hudson at shudson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @SubrinaH on Twitter.

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