By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; Founder, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training
The holidays are fast approaching and with it comes hiring additional seasonal workers to meet demand, help shoppers, and increase sales.
Starting on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season, retailers, restaurants, etc. will be facing the important challenge of providing excellent customer service. Good customer service will help increase holiday sales and gain repeat customers while poor customer service will leave a lasting negative impression and hurt the chance for return shoppers.
“More business is lost due to poor service and poor treatment than poor product,” says Nancy Friedman, one of the leading customer service experts in the county. “Businesses spend considerable promotional and marketing dollars trying to convince us to buy their products, but if that contact is not handled just right by frontline service providers all that money is wasted.”
So how can businesses prepare to meet the holiday’s customer service challenge? Friedman offers these five tips that will help owners and managers up their game and provide customer service that will generate holiday sales and repeat customers in the new year.
- Start some sort of training now, before the holiday shoppers arrive. If you have some customer service training in place, review it with your employees and those seasonal workers you are hiring for the holidays. If you don’t have a customer service plan in place, hire an experienced expert to spend a day training your staff. And if you have no time to train, remind your employees that “thank you for shopping with us” or “we appreciate your business” or “have a wonderful holiday” go a long way, costs nothing, and leaves a positive lasting impression.
- Meet with your staff at the end of each day. Discuss went wrong and what went right. Make sure any customer service concerns are addressed immediately and solutions are made so customers walk away satisfied.
- Prepare your employees with a “mental” suit of armor. Make sure they’re aware all customers won’t be so nice, and some will be difficult. Your employees will be on the front lines of occasional customer abuse. Warn them in advance and make sure that when those incidents happen that your employees will still treat the customer with politeness and respect. We all know the customer isn’t always right. But they remain the customer.
- Your employees need to care. While knowledge of a product is important, it’s just as vital that your salespeople show they care and want to help the customer with a purchase. A friend of mine went into a restaurant only to find the hostess busy texting. She was more concerned with her phone than properly greeting the diner. Not good! Greet each customer as if they were bringing a million dollars of business to your store.
- The most important customer service win: smile! Don’t let your employees greet shoppers without a smile. A smile leaves a positive, friendly first impression.