The holidays are a time met with equal amounts excitement and anxiety by most small business owners. This year, maximize customer experience (and your time spent in the black), by keeping a few key points in mind:
- Customer as top priority – You’ve heard “the customer is always right” ad nauseum. But this sentiment isn’t necessarily the right way to look at customer service, and can lead to eye-rolling frustration from customer service representatives. Instead, try “the customer is always top priority.” Whether a customer’s mid-store meltdown seems justified or not, that customer is part of the force of people who keep your business thriving. Their concerns should be your concerns. Every customer interaction should be treated as the most important interaction in that moment, no matter how small or trivial.
- Customer feelings – There is no better way to create a loyal customer than to make that customer feel great. A successful small business will implement tools to maintain a “feel-good” atmosphere, whether this is through a customer help desk, free samples or shipping, online chat applications, or just a warm and inviting smile from a customer service representative. Look for empathy and eagerness to please in the staff you hire, and lead by example to foster these traits. There is also a case to be made for making the customer “look good,” literally or figuratively. Whether this is flattering lighting and pleasant-smelling soap in the restrooms, a simple compliment, or making the customer look intelligent and capable to those around them, a customer that is made to feel and look good expresses their gratitude with their wallet.
- Customer time – Many customers see their time as the most valuable commodity they possess. There is no better way to alienate a customer than to treat their time without respect. Streamlining your customer’s experience is one of the best ways to help your bottom line. Hire seasonal help. Designate an employee to work “on the front lines” as a direct liaison with customers, to answer specific questions (where or what a product is, how a coupon works, where the restroom is, etc.) Create an online FAQ, which can help reduce customer call-ins. Provide large, readable signage, whether in-store or online, to assist customers in navigating your business. Ensure a smooth transaction at the register by keeping systems up-to-date, staffing appropriately, and allowing customers to use a wide variety of payment (all large credit cards, Apple or Samsung Pay, etc.)
- Customer Enjoyment – Customer enjoyment is impacted by all the above tips, but there are other ways to ensure your customers enjoy frequenting your place of business. Keeping a clean customer area is twice as important during the rush and foot traffic of the holiday season. Create a festive and inviting space. This creates a good first impression, draws them in, encourages lingering and spending, and soothes them when having to wait in long lines or contend with large crowds. Have quick morning meetings where you and your employees pretend to be customers. Look at the store or website with the eyes of a new customer. Is there anything impeding customer pleasure? What positive elements from businesses you and your staff frequent can you borrow for your own business?
A well-loved business is a well-earning, and sustainable business. Implement these tips within your own small business frame, and keep the holidays happy and profitable for all involved. For more information about setting your small business up for success during the holidays and in the long-run, contact the small business advisors at the Law Offices of Eldridge and Nachtman today.