The holiday season is almost over. Christmas and Chanukah overlap and are just a few days away. Kwanzaa starts the day after Christmas. And, for those who enjoy Seinfeld humor, Festivus, the “airing of grievances and feats of strength” is on December 23. (And by the way, if you haven’t seen the hilarious Seinfeld episode with the holiday dinner at George’s home, put it on your must-see list. But only if you want to laugh!)
I bring up the holidays as an example when many companies ramp up their customer service. In malls you’ve most likely found your favorite stores were staffed with extra salespeople during the holiday season. Last year Walmart recognized a big “friction point” with customers was waiting in long lines to check out, so they made a public statement that they would staff all checkout lanes to help make the wait shorter. Customer support departments ramp up with extra people over the holidays, anticipating an influx of support issues due to higher sales throughout the month. The goal being to give the same level of customer service they give in less busy times – as in the rest of the year.
So, just think of the holidays as a busier than usual time. It could be any time that a business, not just a retailer, experiences more sales or service support volume than usual. But, what about other types of businesses. Even manufacturing companies, who may actually slow down during the holidays, can have a holiday-like rush. Their version of a holiday rush might be after a major industry trade show when sales spike and support questions come in. Or it could come during and after a major sale. Or a product launch. You see, every company and every industry has their version of a holiday rush.
So, here is my point. A customer should never experience longer than usual wait times due to heavy volume. That’s for both sales and service. We must give our customers the same level of service year round, regardless of how busy or slow it is. The best organizations are always trying to be at least a little bit better than the norm or what’s expected. That comes in the form of a fast response to an email or social post, a fast return phone call or a short hold time. And, that happens year round.
One of the most powerful trust and confidence builders you can give your customer is to create a consistent and predictable experience. So, be it the holiday sales frenzy, the after-tradeshow rush or some other event that triggers higher than usual customer engagement, always give your customers the same level of service they expect any time and all of the time.
Wishing you a Happy Customer Service Holiday – 365 days a year!
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright © MMXVI, Shep Hyken)