The holidays are right around the corner. To get into the festive spirit, we asked ourselves, “What do consumers think about customer service around the holidays?” Are they overwhelmed with choices, crowds, deals and returning that sweater that didn’t fit quite right? Are they getting the great customer service they’re looking for and finding satisfaction in the last minute and post holiday rush? Most importantly, how do consumers feel after they finish doing business with your company? Would they return?
How can we as businesses ensure that we’re giving the best possible customer service even when under pressure during peak shopping season?
In our recent post Customer Complaints are Your Greatest Source of Learning, we looked at the different touch points customers have with customer service and what that means about their experience and perception of those companies. This time, we enlisted research firm, Zogby Analytics, to do a deeper dive into customer service during the holidays. For full results, click here.
1. What attracts customers to your business during the holiday season?
It’s a fact: Customers are spending more money during the holidays. At 39 percent, customers state great deals are the number one driving force in choosing a specific retailer followed closely by low prices at 38 percent. While prices are getting customers in the door, your staff is what will keep them there and more importantly, keep them coming back. What do retail leaders communicate to their staff? Do they hold nightly meetings when closing up shop to go over pain points and revenue success for that day? If employees understand the role they play in hitting company goals and are rewarded for their hard work, they’ll be more motivated to take care of every customer. If they take pride in their work, it will show for the customer and on your bottom line.
2. In general, how do customers feel about customer service during the holidays?
There’s room for improvement. Forty-five percent of customers say customer service is worse during the holiday season. Sure, your business is flourishing. Sure, the numbers are on the rise and every manager is scurrying to hit those bonus numbers for the quarter. Do those goals inadvertently hinder customer service? Regardless of intentions, it’s important we understand customers are just as stressed during the holidays as we are. Perhaps tending to those clogged aisles, messy store shelves and untidy fitting rooms is not quite as important in a given moment than answering a customer question or directing a customer to the merchandise that’s right for them.
3. The holiday mad dash is over and now comes the aftermath. What does that mean for customer service?
The week after Christmas is famous for an influx of returns, exchanges and consumers looking for an item they didn’t cross off their wish list. Christmas is over but customer service is more important than ever. In fact, one in four consumers admit that the week after Christmas is when they’re most likely to speak with customer service. For consumers who succumbed to the “they can always return it” shopping technique, now is the time when they’ll have questions and will take the time to ask them. Be the expert. That rain jacket they purchased and meant to give as a ski coat? Perhaps the consumer couldn’t tell the difference in waterproof fabric and was in a rush. This is an open opportunity to improve their experience with your company. Teach your staff to be helpful and recommend items during the sale that were overlooked by the consumer previously.
The truth is, we all have a small window to make a great impression. The first impression you give your customers might be your only impression so make it count! Take the thirty-second customer interactions and turn them into something that was worth your time and theirs. Customers are walking into your business willingly – it’s your job to make sure they want to come back.
We wish you a happy and enjoyable customer service experience as you get out there in the holiday rush this year. For businesses, you know what to do – dazzle them!