Customer support is important year-round, but during the holidays, taking the time to ensure excellence can be essential. With higher call volumes, more shoppers, and longer business hours, it can get difficult to continue to provide excellent outstanding customer service. Here are some tips to help you survive this holiday season:
Get In The Spirit
Stressful as the season may seem, the holidays should be a joyful, giving, and positive time. And when you see or speak to your customers, they don't want to hear that you're stressed. They want you to be helpful, friendly, and cheerful. So get in the spirit! You might play holiday music on hold for telephone callers, decorate your store, play some holiday overhead music, make some hot cocoa...whatever it is that makes you and your staff feel like the holidays have arrived, do it.
Don't Start Too Early
Yes, the holidays can increase your sales. But pushing the holidays too much or too hard can certainly backfire. When I started seeing Christmas Trees as early as September, I was a little taken aback. I just wasn't ready yet. If you start your holiday marketing too early, it will often be ignored. When you start will largely depend on your industry. Retail is notorious for starting very early - but don't forget that Nordstrom made headlines when they decided to hold off even decorating for the Holidays until after Thanksgiving. Do what feels right to you - don't just decorate for the holidays because everyone else is doing it.
Because the holidays are an extra busy time of year, it's important to be ready for a bump in business. Whether this means additional staff, longer business hours, holiday-specific employee training, taking the time to be prepared now can save you time in the long run.
Review Promotions with Staff
What holiday specials do you have? Does your staff know about them? Take the time to review your holiday offers with your staff so they can accurately relay the information to your customers.
The holidays will bring many new customers to your business. And these first-time customers might have many questions - how much does this cost? What's your return policy? Where can I find the red t-shirts? These might be questions your long-time customers don't ask or even things you have clearly printed throughout your store, but be patient with everyone, no matter how many times you get the same question during the day. To help free-up your staff, be sure to update the frequently asked questions on your website, your Message On Hold program, and any in-store signage.
To keep employees working hard throughout the holidays, be sure to thank and reward them for a job well done. Take the time to say thank you, buy everyone lunch, host a holiday party - do whatever you can to express your gratitude and your employees will continue to be in good spirits, happily helping clients.