It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s also the most hectic. Crowds form, confusions arise, and customer tensions are at an all-time high.
Customer service is one of the biggest challenges in business. Toss in the holiday rush and you have a recipe for negative reviews, poor customer experiences, and lost sales. Before you lose your top customer service ranking (and potentially your best employees), here are a few tips to help you master customer service during the craziest time of year.
Prepare Your Employees
Follow the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared!
There is a lot happening this time of year. You’re bringing on temporary workers to help with the holiday rush. You’re battling unusual schedule request changes. And, you’re probably offering a few unique specials too.
Your employees are sure to get overwhelmed by the changes alone.
Prepare your employees so they know how you plan to handle the holidays. The better they can understand your plan of attack, the easier it is to get them to help you execute your business’s holiday plans without stealing away from top-notch customer service.
Empower Your Employees to Make Schedule Changes
Do your employees still make schedule changes through you? If so, it’s time to change that practice.
This time of year, family commitments come up more often than in other months. There is more shuffling of schedules and changes in plans. By empowering your employees to make schedule changes on their own, you ensure you are fully staffed throughout the holidays while eliminating an unnecessary extra step. With a program like ScheduleBase, you’ll still always have a strong pulse on what’s happening in your store without requiring every decision to go through you first.
Set Clear Expectations
Tensions are high during the holidays. Situations are bound to arise.
Addressing situations before they happen is key. Do your best to anticipate possible customer challenges. Then, run role plays during your training to show your employees what you want them to do. The better you can teach your employees what’s expected during a challenging situation, the more likely it is you’ll see a positive outcome.
Go Above and Beyond
This time of year, your employees are forced to go above and beyond to serve abnormally large crowds of people. As a manager, your added support is invaluable.
There are several ways you can go out of your way to make your employees holiday season a little bit better.
- Offer a paid day off so they can get their holiday shopping done too;
- Give frequent breaks so your employees can de-stress often;
- Bring in treats to share with your team and add some cheer to the breakroom.
No matter what you do, showing your appreciation and encouragement during this time of year will help your employees feel happier on the job, which in turn will lead to better customer service.
How Will You Master Customer Service?
Mastering customer service starts internally. The better you can prepare and equip your employees, the easier it will be for them to provide the best customer service possible – even during the stressful holiday rush period.
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.