For anyone who sells anything, the Christmas period is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s when you make a healthy percentage of your annual takings. But, on the other hand, there is a necessary amount of chaos that comes with it.
And, with chaos, comes awkward situations; where all your customer service skills will be called into action. Today, I’m looking at how you can keep up your excellent service levels while enduring the Christmas rush. Give it a read – before it’s too late!
Preparation is everything when it comes to handling the Christmas rush. Make sure you have enough stock, enough staff, and as few distractions as possible. Get up to date with all your paperwork, as there is little chance of you finding the time to do it until the new year.
Start sending out communications to your customers as early as you can get away with. It’s essential that you keep your business front and centre of the minds of your audience. The Christmas time is renowned for being a period when regular shopping habits go out of the window.
Devise an email campaign, and send out blasts once a week at minimum. Think about sending old customers christmas ecards for business purposes. Just thank them for their support in the year, and maybe include a special promotion inside. Do anything you can to get visitors to your website, or feet through your retail store.
Many businesses hire support staff for the Christmas period, as they just won’t cope without the extra pairs of hands. Make sure that you have all your temporary employees up to speed with how you treat customers. Explain to them there will be times when things are difficult – and train them how to deal with it.
It’s vital to vet any customer-facing temp thoroughly, as you won’t have any room for a short fused individual. If one of your staff members explodes at a customer, it’s not going to look good. You could lose an afternoon’s sales – or worse. You can’t afford to take those risks, so hire the right people, and give them the best customer service training.
4. Make it Easy for People to Buy
The Christmas shopping crowds want one thing from their ‘experience’ – to by their gifts, and get out as fast as possible. The more barriers you place between them and their goal, the more likely they will just leave your store and go elsewhere. Make sure you have enough staff on the shop floor to handle inquiries, and also on the cash registers to help people pay and leave as soon as possible.
If you are an online store, make constant checks on your website to see if there are any bottlenecks. If people are leaving their shopping carts without buying, there’s a problem with your checkout system. Fix it – and refine it until it performs better.
And there you have it – several ways of making sure you provide excellent service to your customers over Christmas. It can get rough out there – and I feel for anyone working in retail during the holiday season. But, with a cool head and a clear plan, you will get the rewards you need. See you on the other side!