Offering Something Else

This time of year more than any other time is when customer service can be the deciding factor on whether that sale is made or not. Competing on price with a national chain or with another retailer within your town is sometimes not possible. You have two options as a retailer: to not sell the same products, or offer something the competition cannot – great customer service.

Customers report that during the holiday season, they are more inclined to shop at certain retailers and risk spending more for a gift for only two reasons. First, if they know that the product is exclusive and unique. Second, they will frequent a store in which they know the customer service will be greater than they could receive at another retailer, even if that store charges slightly more for the same product. Why would a consumer spend a few dollars more for the same product in this economy? We all want to be treated friendly (“treated friendly” sounds weird …) and experience something unique and “magical” this time of the year.

If you read marketing books you will learn about USP, or the Unique Selling Point. Your customer service should always be your USP as a local retailer. If it isn’t, why are you in business? Most of us are in the line of work we are because we love what we do, or at least we love the subject matter. I have worked enough fourth quarters in retail to know the strain and stress it puts on the body, both mentally and physically, and customer service can become more difficult at this time of the year.

Customer service comes down to knowing your products, and knowing yourself and your employees even better. Knowing who is a morning person versus a night owl has a great impact on how customers perceive your store and your customer service. Employees who are not morning people should never be scheduled for that opening shift, and your morning person shouldn’t be your closer, but you know this by now.

As an employee, one of the biggest influences on my mood while working was the attitude of my boss or manager. If they are not happy, I tended to be unhappy as well, especially if the working conditions were not ideal. This time of year more than any other, you need to leave personal problems at home and only bring your smile to the store. If you have a unique idea on how to capitalize on the holiday rush, feel free to share it with us and your fellow retailers on our Facebook page.