The ubiquitous influence of plans to deliver great customer service is felt by all business owners — especially during the holiday season. But what about the “Wow!” factor?
Is it possible to “Wow!” customers during the holidays when you’re trying your best to satisfy them?
Buffer co-founder and COO Leo Widrich suggests that it’s a plausible undertaking and more simple than you may think. “How about we raise the bar and say, instead of satisfying every person, we WOW them,” says Widrich.
“We shower them with such love, friendliness and helpfulness, that they are blown away. So that they tell everyone they know about you and your awesome service.”
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and author of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, suggests that “to WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means do something a little unconventional and innovative. You must do something that’s above and beyond what’s expected.”
But what does delivering happiness (along with a side of “Wow!”) look like in practical application … especially on days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season?
Here’s a look at seven quick and practical tips to spread delight on Black Friday and the holiday shopping days ahead.
1. Grab coffee and tea for employees.
If you plan to deliver happiness to customers it’s important to start with the people that serve them. Black Friday morphed into Black Thursday for many retailers as physical and online doors opened on Thanksgiving Day to dole out deals. With stores opening earlier, (and staying open overnight with extended hours) your team is working longer and under extreme stress as they deal with difficult customers.
A small gesture that shows you care (with a quick pick-me-up) can go along way. After all, happy (engaged and awake) employees make for happier customers and less “rude” encounters felt by shoppers.
2. Let customers ‘double dip’ incentives.
For many shoppers a mailer or online coupon is what makes their holidays bright. Don’t dim the lights. Make their shopping experience brighter by making it easier for them to purchase more.
If they’ve used a coupon once, hand it back to them and let them use it twice. It’s an added gesture of kindness (and unexpected) when customers can “double dip” savings. They’ll likely return and love you for it. So will your bottom line.
3. Show your customers social media love.
It’s likely that customers are snapping photos of their favorite finds. So, why not return the social media love when they tag your brand? Regram or repost their photos on your official accounts (with photo credit, of course). Not only will they feel valued and recognized, this simple act can foster goodwill that marketing budgets simply cannot buy cheaply.
4. Stay on top of customer flow.
Running a physical store? Now that you’ve gained foot traffic (which means your marketing investment paid off), are you equipped to manage it? Making quick improvements to customer flow can boost sales. For instance, keep “impulse or lower-cost items near checkouts and high-traffic areas” fully stocked through the day.
Meanwhile, make sure you have “signage in the right areas. Help direct shoppers to sale or clearance items or other areas of interest you want trafficked (Signs.com).” Meanwhile, having associates on-hand (walking the floor) to proactively help customers (i.e. “Follow me, there’s an open register over here.”) can also dial down the stress.
5. Keep an eye on crowd control.
Should you make customers stand in a single file line outside of your store? That’s debatable. However, make sure you are implementing OSHA’s crowd control measures to ensure everyone walking through your doors has a safe and pleasurable experience.
6. Don’t ignore your company website.
“I tried to order deals online at 12:01 am until midnight last night. Everything was sold out or unavailable or technical difficulty. Why offer this if the program is not going to work?” Sound familiar?
Make sure online shoppers are not caught off guard by inoperable shopping carts that don’t process coupons or show real-time inventory levels. If customers attempt to make an online purchase and have to jump through Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus hoops to do so, they’ll keep on clicking … to a competitor’s site.
7. Reduce customer service stress.
Remind yourself and your team to “own” customer-service related issues and remain accountable. Empathy can go a long way in resolving a customer’s concern. Generally, people want to simply know that you care. In fact, one of the top irritants for consumers is a bad customer service experience deemed rude or condescending.
Remember: “When someone comes to you in a heightened state emotionally—whether they’re upset or frustrated—they’re directing a lot of emotional tension toward you. One of the most crucial ways to offer support is to establish a sense of rapport. If you establish rapport, you’re much more likely to a) understand what they want, b) empathize with them, and c) get them to a resolution that will satisfy everyone,” says Nathalie Nahai (also known as The Web Psychologist), the author of Webs Of Influence. In laymans terms, don’t fly off the handle. Remind yourself you don’t look good in prison stripes and walk away.