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Five Customer Service Tips to Prepare for Holiday Rush

Customer Service Tips to Prepare for Holiday Rush I’m writing this the day after Thanksgiving, also known in the retail world as Black Friday. This is one of the busiest, if not the busiest, shopping days of the year.  I observed a number of salespeople and customers in the stores at a very busy shopping […]

Customer Service Tips to Prepare for Holiday Rush

I’m writing this the day after Thanksgiving, also known in the retail world as Black Friday. This is one of the busiest, if not the busiest, shopping days of the year.  I observed a number of salespeople and customers in the stores at a very busy shopping mall. Here’s what I noticed.

By the way, even if you’re not a retailer, there are still some lessons here.  Every business will have busier times than others. It doesn’t have to be because of a holiday rush.  It can be after a trade show or seasonal.  Now, back to Black Friday.

Customers were divided. Some were enjoying the experience of looking for sale items for themselves or for holiday gifts for friends and loved ones.  Others seemed to be anything but casually shopping.  They appeared to be on a mission.  It was either for a particular item or store, or it was to get the best deals they could get on Black Friday.  All of the customers had one thing in common: they were going to encounter busy stores, long lines and overworked salespeople.

The salespeople were busy – very busy.  In some cases, they are almost too busy.

Some stores were busier than others, and of course, the check-out lines were longer than usual.  This was testing the patience of some of the customers.

As a business, we must be prepared for these busier times. If we work hard to create a customer-focused brand, we can’t let the holiday rush, the extended hours and the demanding customers erode what we’ve worked for.  No, if anything, we need to up our game and deliver an even better level of service. First for our existing customers and second because new customers will find their way into our stores, and if you want them back, then the customer service experience had better be amazing. So, how can we do it?

Five Strategies to Prepare for Holiday Rush

  1. Make sure you are staffed well.  Wait times for the customer shouldn’t be too different than other busy times.  Salespeople must be available.  If the customer feels they are waiting too long, or they see a long line, they may get frustrated and leave.
  2. Train the staff for the busy times.  Prepare them.  Give them some tips on how to deal with more than one customer at a time.  Expect it will be busy.
  3. Motivate them. If ever there was a time for a team meeting before you opened every day, this is the time. Get employees excited about the prospect of breaking sales numbers but delivering great service along the way.  Talk about what happened the day before and plan to repeat the good and avoid the bad.
  4. Have a contest of some kind.  Make the day fun.
  5. Model the right behavior. Treat the employees the way you want your customers treated, and expect everyone else to do the same.

Okay, it’s holiday time!  Let’s get to work – and have an amazing holiday!

Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at www.Hyken.com. Connect with Shep on LinkedIn.

(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

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