The holidays are the most important time to bring in customers. But as much as two-thirds of American consumers report having worse customer experiences during the holiday shopping season than any other time of the year. That’s a problem for small business owners.
Improving customer support should be your number one goal as your prepare for the holidays. Here's how:
Be of Good Holiday Cheer With Staff
As a small business owner, you've got an important role to play around the holidays. Besides making sure there's enough inventory to meet expected demand and seasonal staff to help handle the holiday load, you also need to be the spirit leader of your team, so:
- Greet holiday customers with a smile and a friendly seasonal reference.
- Work extra holiday hours alongside your team.
- Stay upbeat and offer your busy staff plenty of encouragement.
Your team will need you to play seasonal utility player on a hundred things so they can do the most important one: treating customers right.
Reward Your Staff
As your staff does everything they can to make your holiday season a sales success, keep them in mind and work to keep up morale:
- Offer special holiday sales rewards to keep their motivation at a peak.
- Schedule a holiday party or meal for the entire team (where you announce the sales winners).
- Organize an office gift-giving ceremony.
- Encourage staff to invite family and friends to work-related holiday events.
- Coordinate a flexible work schedule with your holiday staff to give staff time to buy gifts, decorate and host out-of-town guests.
Manage Your Seasonal Staff Carefully
You've got important reasons to manage your temporary holiday staff with extra care, beyond ensuring high-quality customer service. This is a part of your overall recruiting effort for the year, after all. All-star workers at holiday time are likely to join your regular staff for full-time employment, and you want them to know you appreciate treating customers right.
- Remember training is your most important tool.
- Check your numbers from last year to see when and where to deploy temporary staff.
- Offer special rewards for happy holiday customers.
Spread training out the time your seasonal staff is with you, separating out different skill areas, and you should see the reward all year long.
Monitor Your Results for Next Year's Planning
Continuously improving customer support should be your goal. The holidays offers an intense test for planning, executing, and monitoring a customer support plan. Your experiences this year, and the data you generate should help you plan better for the next big holiday go-round.