Everyone loves the spirit of the holidays, but they don’t love the stress that goes along with it. This is especially true for customers who spend full days trying to find gifts for their loved ones, only to encounter crowded stores, long lines and out-of-stock items. Here are five ways to minimize customers’ stress over the holidays.
Prepare ahead of time
You need to find out from customers what they do and don’t like about your store. What is it about your store that makes them stressed? Each store is different, so this is something you personally need to do. Before the holidays, develop a customer feedback systems. This can be something as simple as a survey that you hand out in the store. Your customers will tell you what you need to know to help prepare for the holidays.
You may want to prepare your customers in advance for days that you predict are going to be especially busy. If your store is already crowded, you should let incoming customers know that there may be a wait time for the checkout counter. If you operate a business that works off appointments, inform customers that there may be a delay in appointments.
Provide a pager system
Some restaurants and medical offices give customers pagers to let them go about their business. Once it is their turn in line, the pager will go off and inform them they need to return to the business. This system can be used on a smaller scale in retail stores. For example, customers secure their place in line and confirm with associates that they want to browse more without losing their place. Associates will let that customer know when it is his or her turn in line.
Don’t throw out your discount days so closely to other store discounts. If you manage a retail store in the mall, pay attention to when each store will have discounts. These are days that will be especially busy in the mall. If you can make your discount day fall on another date, you avoid the cluttered mall traffic.
Simply be more personable
Probably the best way to reduce customer stress is to talk with them. Let them know if you are experiencing long wait lines or if you are out of a popular item. Ask them if there is anything you can assist them with to make their shopping experience better. In other words, give them excellent customer service.
There are plenty ways you can reduce stress, for both your customers and your staff. Sometimes, it just takes a little creativity.
Mike has been freelance writing for several years, and co-owns a dog grooming business with his wife in Portland. Utilizing the Mindshare Voice of Customer (VOC) system, Mike was able to boost satisfaction for both canine and human clients.