Christmas comes but once a year, so the saying goes, and for some of us, it can feel somewhat dragged out, as it seems to start earlier and earlier every year.
With huge promotions and discounts like Black Friday and Cyber Monday seducing us to spend our money and the stores getting busier and busier with crowds of shoppers, spare a thought for the people working hard to serve.
Now I say spare a thought, but it might not be what you might believe I am about to talk about. Yes they work hard, bloody hard actually, I have myself experienced the overwhelming public at Christmas during my time working in retail, mark downs, swing tickets, red dots, customer complaints you name it, but one thing was constant, the customer was the most important. You see, stores experience higher levels of visitors at this time of year of course, but not just from regular customers. Often they find they are visited by new customers, customers shopping for others, and sometimes bewildered, tired and fractious customers all just wanting to get the job done.
The problem is that this last fact is often overlooked by the stores themselves, they only focus on their desire to trade and forget that if they do their best to offer an experience that can make things easy for the harassed shopper then they will remember and most importantly, come back. When will they come back? Well probably when they need them most, in a quiet period when they have time to experience the true wonder of what the retailer can offer.
Stores often recruit temporary staff for the festive period, these people are brought in ensure that there is cover. The issue I have, is that often these temporary staff are not trained effectively and therefore simply don’t care. They come in, do their job and go home. There is little by way of exemplary service going on, they are just churning the hordes. No charm, no smile, no time, no patience, no courtesy, no service. This short sighted approach by the stores will cost them, as in the New Year they will remember the poor experience they received from the long departed temporary member of staff and this will become your legacy to them. So it will be no surprise that these customers will not return, they will go to the competitor or shop online.
I know that is busy and time is short, I get that, but investing some time can make all the difference in the long term. When taking on temporary members of staff, give them a training experience that will give them a sense of pride in what they do. Make the feel like a permanent member of staff, get them on brand, teach them product knowledge, demonstrate what the client experience should be and make that happen. Who knows, one of these people could end up being on the payroll permanently when you are recruiting next. These team members may be temporary, but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter, they are more than a body to make up the numbers, they actually represent your brand, your products and can advocate you. So when you see a shopper hurry in, all harassed, make is easy, be efficient, be calm and smile. Make them welcome, acknowledge them, smile at them, and deliver something a little extra that can make their experience memorable. If you are serving people who are clearly shopping for someone else, make it easy for them, solve the problem, ensure you delivery what you would expect. It will be worth it when they remember and come back.
Have a truly successful Christmas season.
This blog forms part of customer service training delivered by SerialTrainer7. If your teams needs support in this area, get in touch by calling 07979 537824 or email Simon@serialtrainer7.com