The holiday season brings opportunities to businesses like no other time of year. Not only is it the busiest time for sales in the present, it is also a pivotal point of the year to make new customer relationships that can carry you throughout the year.
Having great products is of course essential, but so is customer service. Keeping staff members happy and motivated (even when customers are not behaving well), can have a big impact on return visits down the road.
Coach staffers on how to handle difficult situations and customers. Remind them to be compassionate as the holiday season can bring out the worst in people. Teach them how to handle clients with courtesy even when having to draw the line when customers go to far. You probably have a couple staff members who are very good at maintaining composure. Encourage them to step in if they see a newer or less capable staffer having a problem.
Let employees vent their frustrations off the sales floor and securely out of earshot from customers. Once vented, keep them from dwelling on the negative by reminding them that the tough clients may make the most indelible impressions but that the majority of customers are not of the same ilk.
Enforce break times as it is easy to lose track of time and your crew members may not realize they need a time out. Check on them during peak times and encourage even five minutes breaks to stay hydrated, fed and freshen up.
Keep it merry and bright by doing fun little things just for them, such as small inexpensive goodies and games to keep their spirits up. Little surprises like $5 and $10 gift cards to local lunch places to show your support. Have healthy snacks in the back of house areas to keep everyone fortified.
Remember to say thank you, especially after a particularly rough shift. It seems simple enough, but easy to forget during the holiday rush. These small gestures make a big difference in your relationship with your staff and in how they treat your customers in turn. Never take it for granted that they know you appreciate them.