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Santa’s Customer Service Leadership Lesson: Checking Your “CE List”

Customer Service Tips From Santa Clause

The following post is from Guest Mark Macy. This post is intended for leaders of teams and organizations who sell products and/or services.

We all have heard that local businesses are shutting down due to the explosion of online sales. Their explanation is that they just cannot compete. Is it really true?

For those of you who are leading teams where customer service is key, let’s take a close look and pull from Santa’s leadership to glean what CAN BE DONE to enjoy a Merry Christmas of Success.

When I shop online, I enjoyed the following advantages:   

1) I get to do it in the comfort of my home—no traffic; I don’t have to go outside in the crowds or the weather. 

2) I get immediate help via chat and search capabilities. 

3) I get price comparisons.

4), I get free shipping (with tracking of my package online) to my home.

I have learned to enjoy this shopping experience.

So, how does a brick and mortar store compete?  SANTA says, “Customer Experience IS THE KEY!”

According to Dimensional Research, 52% of customers continued to use more products or services from a company after having a positive customer experience, and 51% recommended the company to others. Likewise, a bad customer service experience resulted in 59% of customers ceasing business with that company, and 55% going to a competitor.

Within in the past few days, I was looking to purchase a new pair of glasses. I was looking for a particular color. I had made contact with a local business who shared that they had what I wanted. I decided to go look. I called them and asked them what was a good time, etc. When I arrived, I walked in and they immediately looked up and said, “Are you the guy looking for the “color” glasses?” I responded “Yes” and they said you can look over there. For nearly 20 mins I looked around waiting on someone to come help. No one came. Interesting enough, there were at least three employees in the area. Some were helping others, but never a single word of acknowledgement that someone would eventually be with me—no smile, nothing.

I walked out and ended up purchasing my glasses at another place that provided me with a great customer experience. More importantly, I ended up buying another color of glasses, despite my heart being set on my original dreamed color.

Santa reminds us that Customers are people who have needs, and in many cases money to spend. Without customers, there is no way to pay the bills AND salaries of your elves.

Every single person who comes into your establishment is important. And no one knows who is going to purchase $1 worth of stuff or $1,000,000 of merchandise.

SANTA would add that choosing your elves carefully and ensuring that they understand this truth is critical to continued success. And yes, if they don’t buy in, you might have some tough choices to make.

Here are a few key items that need to be on your Customer Experience Checklist to embark with your team, courtesy of Santa’s wisdom, that will help you prevent the “Black Friday blues”.

  1.  SMILE — “Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.” ―Jay Danzie
  2.  Put Away Cell Phone & Idle “Chit Chat” — Nothing is more rude than employees checking their phones or who are more interested in visiting with fellow workers than helping customers.
  3. Go the Extra Mile — First, be proactive in observing your customers and ask them if they need help. Second, walk them over to where the product is—don’t just tell them and assume they will find it. Third, share with them information about the product they asked about and inquire about their intended use, so you can share alternatives in options, price, etc. Fourth, do everything possible to satisfy the customer — they will honor your efforts.
  4. Inspect What You Expect — You not only need to express your expectations, BUT you need to personally observe, coach, and correct where necessary. Customer Service is just a joke if this step is not taken seriously. Managers’, you must be proactive and private in your approach to coach and/or correct. Be Specific, Sincere, and Timely in your delivery.

Merry Christmas!