How to Use Holiday Season to Get Masses of Loyal Customers

retailstoreThe holiday shopping season can bring both happy and upsetting experiences. People shop around for memorable gifts for their loved ones. They are much more likely to wonder off the beaten track than any other time. If you’re in retail business, this means that you have a wonderful opportunity to gain new customers… or lose the old ones.

Here’s how to make new friends this holiday season, keeping the good old loyal customers, too. The key point is to impress all of your customers with excellent customer service. Holidays can be tense but they pose a marvelous opportunity to make your customer loyalty skyrocket. Here are five tips on how to boost customer service this month.

1. Pamper Your Clients

People not only expect gifts for themselves but are pressed for gift ideas. Help them by handing out nice universal gifts like a little box of chocolates, so they can surprise their partner or kids. A few nice touches can go a long way. Offer water, coffee and refreshments that aren’t too messy; apples will do just fine to show your cordiality. And there’s nothing more a tired shopper appreciates than a chair to rest for a minute.

It’s the best time to surprise buyers with a complimentary gift card or give them extra loyalty points for returning to your shop with their friends. Offer free delivery service to registered clients. If you can mobilize your budget, send flowers and gifts to loyal customers or the ones who sign up for a loyalty card. Be creative, and don’t forget your existing clients.

2. Have Your Employees Ready to Help

In busy shopping season, smooth customer service impresses more than ever. Analyze last year’s sales figures to determine the busiest times. Staff up to meet the demand, so your employees won’t be overwhelmed. If you bring in seasonal employees, it is crucial to make sure they’re scheduled alongside experienced staffers. Your customers need competent and welcoming assistance.

Glory Global Solutions found that the majority of U.S. consumers (88%) have been frustrated by using self-service machines. During holiday shopping, the same goes for the shopping process in general. In a noisy shopping mall, a shopping experience can easily turn to a retail horror. So have extra employees ready to assist with self-service. Have your elves wrapping and packing. Let them help with shopping carts or with finding a parking lot. Make queues as short as possible. And, if a customer asks anything, tell your staff to be especially compassionate and helpful.

3. Get Your Staff in Holiday Mood

It’s a holiday season for everybody. Your employees are missing out on time with family and friends, so cheer them up with bonuses and sales rewards. If your employees are on commission, make sure they get extra credit for ringing up extra sales. Schedule them a free lunch. Help them with their holiday shopping by allocating time for that, or provide holiday discounts on the stuff they sell. And throw a great holiday party in the end of the season, so they’re motivated the next year, too. Organize a service contest that sends the winner to a high-end hotel for a weekend.

4. Set an Example

Managers and even business owners should be on the sales floor to greet customers with the kind of attitude they want their employees to display. Make your staff feels that the holiday season is not a burden but a great opportunity for everybody. And make sure that they know what the goals are. Pick some metrics that help you measure customer service quality, like cash register or telephone call wait times. Talk about those metric regularly with your employees, so they’re clear what your expectations are for this holiday season. People working for you have to be convinced that they, too, benefit from happy customers, and that the management is doing just as much as they are doing to boost customer loyalty.

5. Go Online and Mobile

A study by SDL reveals that 90% of consumers expect the customer experience to be consistent across channels and devices used to interact with brands. This holiday season, people want to pre shop and compare products online. So even if you’re not into eCommerce and mobile sales operations, still meet your loyal customers, having at least a wide selection of discount offers, or an online catalog. Nowadays it’s imperative to have a full inventory and resource planning software like Erply that lets you realize multichannel and cross channel sales operations hassle-free. An embedded customer loyalty program that Erply has, gives you a great advantage, as online and mobile marketing produce great new ways to engage your clients.


About the author
Kristjan Hiiemaa
Entrepreneur building better POS and cloud-based retail management suite . Product guy. CEO & Founder of Erply.