‘TIS THE SEASON TO GO THE EXTRA MILE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS

With only a couple of weeks to go until Christmas, shoppers are starting to feel a bit stressed by the insane nightmare of mass advertising, crowded shopping malls, overstretched banks, and businesses that never seem prepared enough. As a retailer or store-owner it’s one of the busiest times of the year and a hugely important period that provides the perfect opportunity to give your customers memorable shopping experiences that make their lives easier and spread Christmas cheer.
Here are a few little service treats that you can include to get your store ready and get your customer service team into gear to spread some love – just for the sake of it!
• Small giveaways and festive promotions have a big impact on customers and helpful, proactive staff makes a major difference. Make sure that every single customer that comes into your business will walk out a little happier than when they came in
• Senior managers can also make a big impression by walking the store and starting conversations with customers – knee to knee, jaw to jaw. Visible managers can be inspirational for staff under seasonal pressure.
• Uncluttered store or business environments with clear signage and good lighting lift the mood.
• Customers want a seamless service. Ensure the buying process is as smooth as possible to ease their load. Prevent them from wasting time in long queues. What are you doing to be the oasis in their sea of despair – and to look much better than your rivals?
• Give them lots and lots of ideas for gifts – especially when they have left it until 4:00 pm on the 24th of December. This time is a perfect opportunity to highlight not only your bestsellers and your favourite (profitable) products, but also your great service.
• It is important that consumers feel the businesses they frequent are on their side and empathise with them. Turn things around by showing you feel for your customers. Point out cost savers such as bulk purchases or more affordable “Proudly South African” products.
• Be ready for stressed-out employees. We just seem to be unable to get it right every year, but you already know that your people are going to be under pressure. Warn them now, and prepare them emotionally. Paint a picture of how wonderful it could all be if they were positive, and also how great it will be in January when it’s time for a break.
• Be prepared for things that can go wrong. If you know it’s going to be incredibly busy, have you hired a few extra staff? Are your systems and processes flexible enough to cope with re-stocking empty shelves, dealing with increased number of credit card payments, and a host of other crises? Prepare a plan, and make sure everyone knows what to do when the time comes. With a bit of forward planning, you’ll be ready for your customers – even though they will probably not be ready. This will allow you to help them as quickly and as warmly as possible
Remember, you’re not just trying to “get through” the next couple of weeks – you are also working to make each and every individual customer and employee happy, and they will reward you generously for that.


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