There may be no greater miracle than getting through the holidays in one piece. Between the stress over finding just the right gifts, the events, all of the junk food (delicious, delicious junk food) and the rush to ingest it all within the span of a month – it’s a wonder we get past the season with little more than some angst.
From a business perspective, the months of November and December should be seen as a huge customer service opportunity. Based on the fact that egg nog, sweaters with dickies and getting the third degree from every family member can produce so much consternation, why not make things as easy as possible for your customers during the holiday season?
Whether you’re a law professional, a real estate agent, retail or a small business owner, there are some simple actions you can take to create a customer service experience that will leave their hearts all aglow. Here are 10 ways you can create a magically easy experience for your customers during the holidays.
Customer Service Tips:
1: Be Available
Don’t ask them to wait. Don’t ask them to come back or call another time. Take care of them when they need you. Can’t manage the influx of customers on your own or with a small staff? Hire a call center to answer your phone. It’s more cost effective than hiring in-office staff and your calls can be taken night or day. PATLive is open 24/7/365. That includes Christmas, too.
2: Be Responsive
Pay attention to what your customers are actually asking of you and then act on their requests, if possible. There is always opportunity for wiggle room in customer service. Be as flexible as possible.
3: Take Care of Issues with Expediency
Don’t keep your customers on hold or just standing in the middle of the store waiting and waiting for you to resolve an issue. Give each customer your undivided attention and work to resolve their problems quickly. If it can’t be done in less than five minutes, ask to call them back.
4: Be Cheerful Even When You Feel Not-So Peppy
The holidays aren’t just rough on customers, but can take a toll on everyone. And any retail professionals who have to listen to Christmas music all day long – our hats are off to you! I am not certain how many times I would have to hear “Santa Baby” in one day before I would go rogue and head to the mountains forever. Maybe twice? I really hate that song.
Just remember the adage: this too shall pass. Try to keep your sense of humor. Text a friend. Hug a cat. We’ll all get through this. Just don’t sing you-know-what.
5: Keep Your Promises
Want your customers to love you forever? Be a person of your word. If you state you return all calls within 24 hours, do it. Make sure your customers understand that they can rely on your business. It really shows you care.
6: Provide a Holiday Bonus or Incentive to All Customers
A token of your appreciation for your customers’ continued and loyal business is delightful as long as it doesn’t come in the form of a dense fruit cake. Come up with a valuable way that is relevant to your business and customers that will be a value add for them. It could be as small as a word-of-mouth incentive or as big as a gift card.
7: Post Your Ugly Holiday Sweater on Social Media
If you aren’t already communicating with your customers on social media, we have plenty of good reasons why you should. People love ugly holiday sweaters. The uglier, the better. Get some photos and share them on social media to get your customers buzzing.
8: Take Calls on National Holidays
Maybe you aren’t open on holidays, but that doesn’t mean your customers don’t need you to provide customer service. Show them you value their needs be taking their calls year round. Don’t want to work on Christmas or Hanukkah? Our call center is open all year – even on major holidays.
9: Ask Your Customers About Their Holiday Plans
Talking to your customers creates a connection. It’s also just plain fun! Getting to know the people who make your business stay afloat gets you better acquainted with their needs and interests. Heck, maybe you’ll even learn about something you could be doing better. Strike up a conversation. You never know where it could lead.
10: Make Them Feel the Holiday Spirit
Simply piping holiday music over a loudspeaker isn’t going to have everyone feeling the spirit of the holidays. Instead, set up a donation program! For every dollar your customers spend, you donate an amount to a local or nationally recognized charity. Do a coat drive for kids. Doing good is really what the holidays are all about. Get them into the spirit of the season by making it easy for them to give back.
You don’t need to love the holidays to spread good cheer, but making things easy for your customers will endear them to you even more.