How to Avoid the Post-Holiday Customer Satisfaction Dip
The holiday season can be a chaotic time for businesses. Customers set high expectations for company services and retailers must typically hire temporary workers to keep up. While the holiday season might be a time of complicated balancing acts for any retail business, a company owner or manager should also be aware of the post-holiday dip in customer satisfaction that arises after the chaos. By taking steps to avoid a reduction in customer satisfaction that stems from holiday fatigue, retailers will see greater client interaction and better reviews for sales throughout January and the rest of the year.
Give Your Full-Time Employees a Refresher on Customer Service Tips
Acknowledging the chaos of the holidays gives you an opportunity to remind your full-time employees about the foundation of good customer service. Use the new year as a chance to remind your employees about customer service tips you use during the holiday season for your temporary employees.
Hold a team huddle or a meeting and acknowledge the excellent work of your team during the holiday season. Give appropriate praise for good customer service and remind your employees about the tips and tricks that made the season a success. Finish up the meeting or huddle by encouraging them to continue using the same positive mind-set to take on the upcoming year.
Motivate Your Employees
Give your employees an incentive to work on their customer service skills. Acknowledge and reward employees for going above and beyond the expectations of customers. For example, you can give a discount on their favorite items in-store or give them a reward for their hard work. You can also set up an "employee of the week" system to acknowledge excellent performance or great customer service efforts.
For employees who work on your website or engage customers via phone or an online chat system, provide incentives based on their performance. For example, offer discounts on items they purchase or give a gift card for the store as a reward for good customer service or going beyond the expectations of customers.
When you set up incentives for excellent customer service, evaluate the number of individuals working with your customers. You may need to hire new staff members if you don't have enough employees to keep up with post-holiday purchases.
Use the New Year to Engage Your Customers
The new year is an excellent time to engage your customers and learn more about their interests and goals. Set up customer surveys and ask about their resolutions for the new year. You can also use the opportunity to promote your products by offering a New Year's sale or focusing on the theme of the upcoming year.
Encouraging customer engagement with interesting activities or sales may also help your business avoid the post-holiday dip in satisfaction. Set up a raffle for your customers when they respond to a survey or offer a giveaway with specific products for a set number of customers within the New Year. For example, give your customers an item when they're the 100th, 500th, 1000th, etc., customer of the year. Focus on interesting ways to engage your customers and encourage them to visit your stores.
Take Advantage of Returns to Learn About Your Clients
After the holiday season, you'll have customers who return items. They may return gifts they received from loved ones using a gift receipt or they may return items they purchased themselves. When a customer returns an item, ask questions about the reasons why. For example, they may return items due to an improper fit. In that situation, you can recommend exchanging the item. If they don't like the item for any reason, then ask a few questions in a respectful manner to learn about your customer's interests. The data helps you focus on your customer's preferences so you can enhance their shopping experience.
The post-holiday customer satisfaction slump doesn't mean your business must face a loss in profits. You can address the problem by focusing on motivating your full-time employees and encourage customer engagement by taking advantage of the optimism of a new year.
Lisa van Kesteren is the CEO of SeeLevel HX, a mystery shopping and customer experience agency.
Related story: This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Customer Service