Authored by Raquel Guarino
The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for retail and e-commerce. Tied with the season is a high potential for more business, new customers, and added stress. Here are a few tips to make the most of the holiday season--and stay cool, calm, and collected while doing it.
When it comes to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it's important that your customers are aware of what they can expect. Because you will likely be getting more business, your customers need to have specific expectations outlined for them. For example, if they are expecting a package before Christmas, give them a deadline for ordering products for guaranteed Christmas delivery. Because the holidays are a time-sensitive occasion, it's extra important to under-promise and over-deliver, rather than the opposite. There's no easy way for a parent to explain why Santa couldn't get them their most-wanted toy in time for the special day.
Create a Holiday Schedule
When business start to gain momentum, it only makes sense to adapt your availability in tandem with it. Create a holiday schedule that accounts for larger amounts of consumer activity. That might mean extending your hours for a holiday schedule, and it could also mean announcing when you won't be available (ie. Christmas Day). Whatever changes you make, make sure your customers AND staff are fully aware of the changes by posting notice in advance via in-person communication, email, signs, and social media updates.
Train Your Employees
Your employees may have their own assumptions about how things work during the holidays, but you shouldn't rely on those assumptions for your customer service strategy. Instead, well-communicated and implemented protocols are the key to success during the holiday season. That means discussing any new policy changes that may be relevant to the time of year and explaining how to work with tough or unhappy customers.
Offer Multichannel Customer Service
It's important to be available whenever and wherever your customers are. If you're not offering a multichannel customer service experience, then you are definitely missing out on potential business. Because your customers are not a homogeneous group, it's impossible to offer one contact solution that makes sense for all of them. Offering your customers a variety of ways to get in touch with you (especially outside of business hours) is an impactful way to keep your customers connected and to keep your company accountable. Building this relationship is a particularly strong way to build trust as well. If you're interested in learning more, Help.com offers a variety of options for your multichannel customer service needs.
Don't be afraid to show your holiday spirit. Whether it's sprucing up your website or store with holiday themed details, adding emojis/GIFs/stickers to your messaging and social strategy 🎄🕎✨, or even sending your customers a silly email or e-card, there's no reason not to have fun (and remember, inclusivity is always appreciated). When you show a lighthearted side, both you and your staff are more likely to be in a better mood, too--and that means happier customers!
Check In on Customers
A new year is a new opportunity to start fresh. What better way to improve your company and set pertinent goals than by talking with your customers directly? One way to check in on them is through a short survey. Of course, that's not the only way. You can also ask for feedback after interactions (for example, at the end of a live chat conversation, you could ask customers to rate their experience with your company and what changes they would like to see).
What would you add to this list? Add your own tips in the comments below.