New research indicates that over half of customers believe that their satisfaction with customer service decreases during the end of year holiday season. It’s no surprise that so many customers find this a difficult time of year – they are often stressed and under pressure to buy gifts and the shops are all busier than usual.

But retailers know that the rush will happen. From Black Friday onwards and into the New Year sales is the busiest time of the year for most retailers. They know the rush will happen and it will affect customer satisfaction so what can be done to mitigate against problems that affect customer service and loyalty?

A couple of years ago Multichannel Merchant published a list of five key tips for retailers at this time of year. It’s still just as valid today and includes advice such as:

  • Get your team ready; don’t assume your entire team understands the importance of this time of year. Talk to them about your revenue goals and explain just how important this busy period is for the entire company – get everyone involved in the end of year rush and what it means for your bottom line.
  • Be friendly; customers are generally stressed during this busy period so really focus on positive, upbeat interactions. It can make all the difference if a stressed customer finds that they are more relaxed after speaking to an advisor.
  • Spread the cheer; help your team to enjoy some festive cheer so you can build up goodwill for the year ahead when things get back to normal.
  • Think like the customer; it’s a big rush at this time of year and customers are more stressed than usual. Put yourself in their shoes when planning how to help them in this busy environment.
  • Prepare for the rush; one in four customers say that the most likely time they will get in touch with a customer service advisor is the last week of the year. Make sure your team can flex and handle the additional call volume (and other channels if you support them).

These tips look like common sense, but taken together they are a good guide for retailers that want to avoid customer stress in the holiday season leading to customer service disasters. Never assume that your team knows exactly how important great service is during this difficult time of the year. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment here, or get in touch on LinkedIn.