During the holidays, it’s important to make great customer service a priority. The closer the season comes, the more frantic your customers get.
So, get the most from this holiday shopping season by offering your customers amazing service, which in turn will bring you financial reward. Here are10 ways to make it happen:
The holidays can be overwhelming. More stock, more customers, more staff and more time spent to make sure they’re completed. Take a breath before speaking to each customer. It will give you time to gather your thoughts and re-energize.
2. Say Hello
Speaking to your clients doesn’t have to be all about sales. Sometimes it’s good just to say hi, ask them how they are and wish them happy holidays. Even the smallest interactions can leave them with a good feeling, encouraging them to contact you again.
Concentrate on the task in hand. If your customer is making time to talk to you, make time to listen. As you listen, don’t prejudge what he or she is saying. An angry tone may not be directed at you and could be easily resolved. Keep your mind open, so you hear everything.
4. Personalize the Experience
Use your customer relationship management database (CRM) to keep track of your customers and their purchasing habits. Use this to customize your service to them, tailoring your offers and suggestions will increase your value to the customer and encourage loyalty.
5. Be Fast and Friendly
The crowds, the weather and the stress of the holiday season can test your customer’s patience. People are under pressure to get a lot done in a little time. Be as efficient as you can and show them you respect their time. But don't trade fast for friendly. You need to do both. Give your customers a warm smile and friendly greeting and you'll help them have a better experience while they're in your store.
6. Be Flexible
Your goal is to give customers what they want, and sometimes you need to be creative. Being flexible is about offering your customer choices and not saying – “that’s the only way you can do it.” Empower your co-workers to know the products and services that you can offer. If there is a product or service that you cannot offer, have a list of suppliers who can, and who you could trust with your customers. It is a tactic that encourages trust in your business. It shows that you will find the best solution for them and will encourage them to return when they have another problem to solve or product to buy.
7. Look at Your Social Channels
It’s easy to overlook your social accounts, but it is a channel that is increasingly being used to make comments, leave reviews or ask questions by customers. Make sure you have a strategy for not only monitoring these channels, but replying as well.
Using social channels allows you to effectively manage customer relationships. A study on social customer service found that 23.4 percent of customers will take to social media to vent frustration if their first channel of contact doesn’t work. It also found 63.8 percent of customers will spend more with companies that offer great social customer service.
8. Turn Complaints into Opportunities
Complaints are made by customers who care. They are not a lost cause. If they did not care about your business, they would simply give up and go elsewhere. When you receive complaints, customers are telling you what they value and what you can do to increase the chance of their customer loyalty. If they say you’re too slow, they value speed. If they can’t get through to you on the phone, they value human interaction. Give your employees the ability to make amends based on the nature of the complaint. Matching the right resolution to the complaint will turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one, even after the holidays are over.
9. Look After Your Employees
Your team is as important as your customers. Constant interactions and tight deadlines can be taxing on your relationships with them. And exhausting and overwhelming them will leave them only wanting to do the bare minimum for your customers. It’s a vicious circle.
There are so many ways to support your employees and make them feel valued. From being given the appropriate training to being treated fairly. From adequate vacation, to a personal thank you. Think of all the small things that will make the difference.
10. Self Care
Lastly, take care of yourself. If you're tired or stressed, you'll be in no position, physically or emotionally, to help your customers and support your team. Eat well, take breaks (even if it’s for a 10 minute walk in the parking lot) and feel the positive energy of the season.