Holiday Tips for the Entrepreneur

a girl giving a bagel and coffee to customer

Here are 5 simple ways to get on the nice list with customers and increase your sales

The Christmas holiday season can be a joyful and prosperous time of year for your business or a time of increased stress and reduced income. Customers can be so overwhelmed with messages to BUY NOW and SALE! signs everywhere that they don’t even kxmas walmartnow what they really want. Add to that employees being distracted from their work thinking about their time off, money, family, gifts to buy, etc. Tempers can get short.

So how does a business owner keep his staff focused, keep production rolling and increase sales through all of this holiday confusion?

Beat the drum for Customer Service!

There are all sorts of gimmicks a business can employ during the holidays – discounts, two-for one sales, time limited offers, catalogue or post card mailings, special events and open houses, etc. These are all fine ways to attract customers. But when every other business is offering the same how does your business stand out above all others?

The answer is top notch customer service. When a business gives great service and exchanges a valuable product they not only increase the rate of returning customers but satisfied customers tell others which creates new customers for the business. Word of Mouth Marketing (or WOMM) is your most powerful marketing weapon against the chaos of Christmas.

santa hat and list
Are you on the Naughty or Nice list of your customers?

The Marketing Science Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts asked CUSTOMERS of a wide range of service businesses what factors they considered most important in assuring their satisfaction.

Here is the response:
RELIABILITY: This topped the list of what customers expect. A major source of customer dissatisfaction is the “un-kept promise.”
RESPONSIVENESS: Be helpful and provide prompt service.
ASSURANCE: Employees should be knowledgeable and courteous and should convey confidence in the service they provide.
EMPATHY: Customers want individualized attention and people who will listen to them.
TANGIBLES: Physical facilities and equipment should be attractive and clean. Employees should be dressed and groomed well.

The six most common complaints from customers are:

1. Overpromising/Under-delivering.
2. Failing to stay in touch.
3. Using too much industry/inside jargon.
4. Failing to listen to customer’s concerns/ideas.
5. Telling rather than explaining.
6. Communicating without courtesy.

Groove in Your Staff to providing Top Notch Customer Service

Here is something you can do: Get your staff together and fully groove them in on the above points – both good service and poor service. Have them pair up and do the following:

1. Tell each other in their own words what good customer service is.
2. Give each other three examples of times they observed poor service.
3. Give each other three examples of times they experienced excellent service.
4. Have them practice greeting and handling customers with good service.
5. Have them list five ways they can improve service to your customers. Then post these ideas in a staff area and promote them at meetings, etc.

You can follow this up with rewards for employees who give good service such as employee of the week, bonuses, etc. You can get as creative as you want with this.

I hope you find the above tips useful and we wish you a very merry and prosperous holiday season!

Rohn Walker
Founder & CEO
International Executive Technology

 

PS: I’ll be talking more about this subject at the upcoming Ignite Sacramento Business workshop on January 20, 2016 downtown Sacramento. Write to us or give us a call at IET to attend.

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