Some Not-So-Obvious Ways to Get Through the Tough Holiday Season Ahead
Call Center & Customer Service
1. Be the hero to your customer. Get ready for a late holiday rush. Catalogers who meet the last-minute holiday needs of their customers with in-stock merchandise and quick delivery will win hearts and future purchases.
2. Empower your call center reps with product knowledge. Customers have less time to shop, so knowledgeable, confident recommendations are a welcome service. Your call center staffers need to be your product experts. Make sure that your merchandising staff has thoroughly explained and, if needed, demonstrated the products to your call center reps.
If you’re a food mailer, your call center staff should be your waiters and waitresses. Have a food tasting for the call center where they make notes about the products in their catalogs.
3. Increase your customer service, or “customer love.” It’s contagious, and the most lackluster of customers will buy more and tell more friends if you really knock ’em down with customer service.
4. Get creative. Suggest your items as holiday gifts. Send customers free samples. Or ask them what they would like for the holidays if a friend were buying for them. Then, if you have enough margin, send them a two-for-one offer on that item. This way, they get a free one if they buy one for a friend.
5. Set incentives for inbound reps and pay them if they increase the average order size of customers who call in by giving them a special offer or getting them to buy more units.
6. Have any free call center time? Use it to call your best customers to thank them and ask if you can do more.
Marketing & Circulation
1. Don’t over-mail. Look at the percent of prospecting vs. mailings to your housefile. Also, re-evaluate the circulation falling below your incremental break-even point. Control the amount of marginal circulation. Be willing to give up some sales to help the bottom line.