Holiday Punch List for Innovative Customer Service

santa hat 2It’s almost over! With Christmas Eve just one week away, the holiday shopping season is winding down. Folks on both sides of the cash register are feeling the pressures of the season.

For many customers, panic is setting in. They’re tired, they’re frustrated, they’re worried they won’t find the perfect gifts for everyone on their lists.

Many store associates are equally tired and frustrated. They’re working longer hours, getting fewer days off and probably standing on their feet all day.

How can we retain the spirit of the season right up until the end? I’ve put together a Holiday Punch List designed to put joy back in the hearts of weary shoppers and employees alike.

Appeal to the Senses Add the scents of the season to the customer experience. Light candles that smell like Christmas trees (if you can do it safely) or place scented pine-cones throughout your establishment.

Manage Customer Wait  Place a bowl of mini-candy canes or peppermints near the cash register. Smile and offer one to customers as they wait in line.

Create a Musical Surprise Instead of the usual track of holiday classics liven things up with a Christmas Polka or some funny children’s songs that will evoke a giggle. Invite high school choirs in to sing carols as they stroll around the store.

Welcome Customers Warmly Place a greeter at the door and offer customers a hot cup of coffee, cocoa or cider as they enter.

Occupy the Kids Provide coloring books and crayons to keep the little ones busy while mom and dad shop or stand in line.

Ease the Load If you don’t have shopping carts, allow customers to check their bags while they continue to shop. If they aren’t weighted down by heavy parcels, they’ll shop longer!

Wrap it Up Offer gift wrap services to your customers. Complimentary is great, but if your budget won’t allow, charge a nominal fee. Or, invite volunteers from charitable organizations to come in and wrap presents for donations.

Pamper Your Associates Provide quick breaks for your associates between their regular breaks. A chance to put their feet up for five minutes or get a drink of water makes a big difference. Take it a step farther and place massaging seat cushions or foot massage machines in the break room.

Foster Fellowship Cater a lunch for your associates during the last few days of the season. If your budget won’t allow for that, encourage associates to bring a dish pot-luck style and enjoy a meal together.

Smile and say, “Thank You!” Look your customers and your associates in the eye and express your gratitude for their patronage and their hard work, respectively.


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Dr. Chip R. Bell is a world-renowned authority on customer loyalty and innovative service. Global Gurus ranked him in 2018 the #2 keynote speaker in the world on customer service; #1 in North America. He also is the author of numerous national and international best-selling books including Take Their Breath Away, Managing Knock Your Socks off Service, Magnetic Service, The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service and Customers as Partners. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages.

His newest customer service book is the award-winning, best-selling book Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles.

Dr. Bell has appeared live on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, Fox Business, ABC, CBS, NPR Marketplace and his work has been featured in Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, and Fast Company.


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