Dealing with Customers During the Holidays – (everybody ain’t happy)

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Dealing with Customers During the Holidays – (everybody ain’t happy)

The holiday rush is the best, biggest, and busiest time for retailers. The November and December shopping cycles are the largest factor in a company’s annual revenue. With such a big stake in making yearly budgets, it’s no wonder business owners do all they can to prepare for the influx of customers. Here at AYSC, we’ve compiled a short list of reminders for your customer service team to successfully deal with challenging customers.

Plan Ahead: Preparation is everything when the holiday rush comes to your door. From personnel coverage to inventory needs, have everything in its place ahead of time. Seasoned business owners can combine previous season reporting with highest selling items of the year to determine what they need to have on hand. First-time holiday businesses can conduct relevant market research, review recent sales activity, and current buying trends before deciding what to order.

Underpromise, Overdeliver: A well-known phrase in service industries, this mantra rings true during busy seasons. Customers prefer a realistic timeline which is met rather than an unrealistic goal that is missed. What customers love even more is a realistic timeline that is exceeded. Always be transparent with your customer regarding when they can expect shipments, responses from supervisors, or items to be restocked. If your company can exceed the stated timeframe, bravo you’ve just kept a customer.

Increase self-service options: Additional automated recordings featuring current shipping times, holiday hours, or exchange policies is a quick and cost-effective way to address your customers’ needs. For those same reasons, update your website’s FAQ section to include items related to holiday shopping needs. While you’re online, add discount codes, special sale notifications, and highlight any software updates to previously available products.

Authorize employees to make decisions: The goal is to problem solve and allow customers to continue their day. The more decision-making power employees have, the less time customers have to wait for a resolution to problems. Increasing your customer service representative’s authorization to grant discounts, offer free shipping, or add an upgrade will leave the customer feeling satisfied by a resolution and grateful that they didn’t have to spend hours getting one.

Focus on customer satisfaction: During the holiday shopping season, consumers anticipate additional shoppers in stores and longer lines. They also anticipate that business owners will be ready to handle the influx. When their expectations are not met they can become short-tempered. Empowering employees to cover areas of need, offer add-ons as compensation, or

Never too much training: It’s important to train your staff in conflict resolution, maintaining a calm demeanor, and methods of closing out an unpleasant situation. Full-time and seasonal staff both need to brush up on their etiquette and response time. (Read our recent article on Tips for Holiday Staff Training). Cross-training staff is also a good idea as holiday shoppers tend to question the first person they see, not necessarily the person who works in that department. Cross-training in call centers allows managers to pull additional staff in to cover an increase in phone calls.

Holiday shoppers move at a different pace and carry higher expectations for service interactions than everyday shoppers. Their desire to get in and out of your store or out of the phone queue should be your number one priority to meet. Combining organizational preparation with proper training and accurate information for your employees will ensure that customer leave your business feeling valued.

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