7 Ways to Boost Customer Service During the Holidays
Few times are more important for grocery store owners and managers than the holidays. They can not only make your financial year a huge success, but they’re also a prime opportunity to gain customers who have the potential to become return shoppers.
If your employees fail at customer service and aren’t helpful, knowledgeable or pleasant, you not only lose customers and lose future sales, but you also risk the chance of getting slammed on social media.
So what can grocery store owners and managers do to encourage excellent customer service during the holiday season and beyond? Here are seven tips that will help up your game and provide customer service that will generate holiday sales and repeat customers in the new year:
- Start some sort of training now, before the holiday shoppers arrive. If you have some customer service training in place, review it with your employees and those seasonal workers you’re hiring for the holidays. If you don’t have a customer service plan in place, hire an experienced expert to spend a day training your staff. And if you have no time to train, remind your employees that saying “thank you for shopping with us” or “we appreciate your business” or “Have a wonderful holiday” goes a long way, costs nothing, and leaves a positive, lasting impression.
- Meet with your staff at the end of each day. Discuss went wrong and what went right. Make sure any customer service concerns are addressed immediately and solutions are implemented so customers walk away satisfied.
- Provide your employees with a mental “suit of armor.” Make sure they’re aware that all customers won’t be so nice, and some will be downright difficult. Your employees will be on the front lines of occasional customer abuse. Warn them in advance, and make sure that when those incidents happen, your employees will still treat the customer with politeness and respect. We all know that the customer isn’t always right, but they remain the customer.
- Your employees need to care. While knowledge of a product is important, it’s just as vital that your associates show that they care and want to help the customer with a purchase. A friend of mine went to a restaurant, only to find the hostess busy texting. She was more concerned with her phone than properly greeting the diner. Not good! Greet each customer as if they were bringing $1 million in business to your store.
- They should never take their frustrations out on the customers. And if the customer is in a foul mood, too, that’s all the more reason for employees to turn on the charm. Employees should remain upbeat and happy, and not let a rough day, coupled with a customer’s bad mood, affect the service that they provide.
- They should leave a great last impression. Associates’ response to customers saying “Thank you” shouldn’t be “No problem.” They should use the gold standard of “You’re welcome.” “No problem” is a big problem when it comes to positive customer service.
- Smile! Don’t let your employees greet shoppers without one. A smile creates a positive, friendly first impression.
As the holidays rapidly approach, remember that if you don’t provide excellent customer service and leave a pleasant experience with your customers, you’ll lose an opportunity to gain and retain valued customers forever.