The dark side to the holiday rush
December 03, 2012
Though it's been hailed as "the most wonderful time of the year," the holiday season is exceedingly stressful for many individuals. Between trying to make ends meet, picking out the right gifts and contending with long lines and cranky fellow consumers, the life of a shopper isn't always easy.
When customers become agitated, there are a few pieces of entrepreneurial advice workers can take to mollify them and ensure that they become repeat patrons. If employees cannot take what might otherwise be a poor experience and turn it around, the startup will risk losing some consumers' business forever.
Hire more, but treat them well
Entrepreneur Magazine suggested that to appease unhappy customers, business owners can take preemptive steps to ensure patrons are treated well. The source said that staff members trained in customer service would be best, and that more employees on the floor can often mean a better, more personal experience for consumers.
However, in order to make sure everything runs smoothly, these leaders need to treat their personnel right around the holidays, or else equal damage can be done. Inc. Magazine noted that if workers aren't happy, patrons won't receive good service in many cases. Allowing for time off around Christmas and New Years, holiday bonuses and other perks can often keep staffers happy during this time of the year.
The customer is always right
The retail golden rule still holds true - when in an argument with an individual, even if they're technically wrong, the customer is always correct. Entrepreneur explains that using this approach usually yields the best results.
Marketing strategist Ken Varga told the news source that because the majority of shoppers won't pose a problem or become upset, it's good to focus on the small fraction that do and make them feel heard. Because we live in such a connected age, if the shopper feeds wronged, Varga noted, they can take to sites like Twitter or Facebook and badmouth the brand, potentially resulting in a large amount of lost business.
If there is an upset customer in the store, employees should always know to get a manager involved, rather than try to tackle the problem themselves, Red Orbit reported. Having a person of authority listen to their problem might be just the thing shoppers need to believe they are being heard and that someone with the ability to make changes is tending to their requests.
The news provider explained that just the notion that their issues are validated and are being heard greatly opens the lines of communication. This often minimizes disheartening posts seen on social media after there is no saving the situation.