For many small businesses all around the world Christmas presents (pun intended) a golden opportunity, as fleets of eager Christmas customers come out of the woodwork looking to snare a bargain.
For other businesses, the considerable effort required to be financially successful during the holidays is cause for much tinsel-covered anxiety. With so little time and so many presents to buy, the holidays can turn even the most patient customers in the world into bargain-hungry monsters ready to devour all who stand between them and 15% off a brand new George Foreman grill.
The holidays, however, need not be a stressful time for businesses. When preparing for the mad holiday rush, it’s essential that your entire team are on the same page and ready to go. Get your trained staff in place early and you’ll stand a far greater chance of catching the proverbial worm. Here are a few tips to help your business weather the holiday storm this year.
Perfect Promotions and Perfecting Procedures
Due to the greatly expanded profit window, many businesses see fit to run special holiday promotions in an attempt to boost sales, and I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that customers love a bargain, so I’m also sure you’ll agree that when said bargains are misleading or ineffectively articulated they can be the cause of much customer frustration.
You must ensure your staff members are well-versed in all of your promotional details—how long they’re running for, what customers are entitled to, which customers qualify, etc. You’d also be wise to ensure that your employees fully understand your returns policy, as it’s certain to get a workout after Christmas.
Expect the Best, Plan for the Worst
More customers equals more revenue. Pretty straight forward, right? Wrong! Having more customers doesn’t mean you can simply sit back and watch the money roll in. Having more customers doesn’t automatically equal more revenue; rather, having more customers equals the potential for more revenue.
Are you familiar with Murphy’s Law? Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Yes, this popular adage is never more apparent than during the holiday season, and far too many over-confident, underprepared businesses fall victim to its I-told-you-so wisdom every year. If you’re expecting an increase in sales of 10%, plan for 15%. No one has ever thought: That went really well. I almost wish we were less prepared.
Look to the Past to Plan for the Future
People make mistakes. It’s our ability to learn and grow from these mistakes which separates us from that magpie you saw repeatedly flying into the same glass window for 10 minutes. If you really want to please your customers, it’s imperative that you listen to their complaints. Good or bad, customer feedback is a valuable asset for all businesses.
Whether you gather feedback on social media, by email, in person, or over the phone, it’s worthwhile taking a step back to review feedback you’ve received during holidays past. If you struggled last year, it’s likely that your customers would have let you know about it. Let’s say your business sells themed business socks (a popular holiday gift), and last year you received multiple complaints about the lack of snowmen on your Christmas designs, you’d be wise to listen to your customers and give the people what they want, which, as we all now know, is snowmen on their socks.
It Takes a Team to Deck the Halls
The holidays are an exceptional time of year, so it’s no surprise that the problems arising during this period are also exceptional, requiring exceptional solutions. I’ll assume you’re familiar with company culture? Your business has one, no doubt. What about your Christmas culture? Handling hordes of holiday horrors requires a collective effort. It may require some of your staff to handle work that isn’t usually part of their job description. At the very least, all your employees should all be on the same page and able to answer simple queries customers may have.
Remember: culture starts from the top and trickles down, so don’t forget to reward your staff for the extra effort they put in during the challenging holiday period.
Facilitate Online Support
Don’t underestimate your customers. Although they may sometimes suggest the opposite, most customers are capable of helping themselves from time to time, and many will have empathy for the extra stress involved in operating during the holidays.
Online support is a fantastic way to reduce your workload during the holidays, as many customers will have similar issues and questions. Don’t spend all of your time repeating yourself; invest in providing your customers with some succinct, targeted, and easy-to-access information. FAQs are a fantastic resource and tools like online chat are becoming increasingly popular with online consumers.
If your business handles a high volume of phone traffic, you’d be wise to invest in an on hold system, which will help to reduce phone congestion and provides an excellent opportunity to answer customer questions without even having to pick up the phone.
Keep Your Christmas Cool
Christmas is an undeniably stressful time. Success during this busy period goes a long way to the sustained success of businesses all around the world. Although you may not be able to predict every situation that may arise during this time, you can take steps to ensure your staff are ready to handle anything that comes their way. Online staff training from Canity will have your staff handling Christmas as if it were any other day.