It’s that time again. The time of year where everyone comes out of hibernation for a few months and spends all their money… Christmas. It goes without saying that this is an important period for retail, but why, exactly, is Christmas so important? And how can you make the most of this time with a customer-centric approach to Christmas retail sales?
What’s all the fuss about Christmas?
Often it can seem like we get overly worked up about Christmas. It’s only one day—can’t we all just calm down and wait a couple of months before we start preparing? The reality is, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by adopting this mindset. The average business turns over somewhere between a quarter and a third of their year’s sales in the period leading up to Christmas, making it the make-or-break season that gets many businesses through the quiet January/February period. So if you want your business to succeed—pay attention to Christmas, now.
Understanding the Christmas retail landscape
To succeed in this crucial Christmas season, there are two key factors to understand first.
Firstly, customers are stressed. For the majority of Christmas shoppers, the whole process is a pain—they have a million other things going on in the background to worry about, and just want to get in, get out, and escape home to avoid the crowds. You think your product is important but, for them, it may well be just another tick in a box next to a relative’s name. The last thing they want is any aspect of your in-store experience interfering with their desire for convenience and simplicity. Long lines, product out of stock, inattentive staff—none of these are on the list of things your customer is looking for this Christmas.
Secondly, you’ll likely be bringing in new, inexperienced staff to cover the Christmas rush. Regardless of how robust your recruitment process might be, there’s no avoiding the fact that these new staff will be below par in certain areas of their service, at least initially. Left to their own devices, this is a recipe for disaster.
How to turn this Christmas into the most successful yet
The antidote to stressed customers and inexperienced staff is visibility and responsiveness.
Imagine a customer rushes into one of your stores, looking to buy a present for their nephew on a lunch break. They ask a staff member on the shop floor for help, who points them in the direction of the information desk. After a long line and a ten minute wait, your information desk attendant apathetically states “I don’t know”, leaving the customer to wander around themselves. Finally settling on a pair of jeans, they ask if the appropriate size is in stock, only to be told they aren’t. Annoyed and frustrated, the customer storms out of your store, swearing to never go back again.
Usually this kind of occurrence would fall through the cracks at Christmas time. Not only would you lose the customer’s business that day, and likely for the rest of their lifetime, but also those in their social circles to whom they complain about the experience. Now, imagine if that customer were able to vent their frustrations immediately via feedback and your management team was able to get a real-time alert. An experienced member of your team could jump on the phone immediately and resolve the issue with the customer, guiding them through a few great present options for their nephew, and winning back their business on the spot. It’s this kind of visibility, and responsiveness to issues, that will lead your business to having its best Christmas ever.
Making the most of Christmas
In a Deloitte survey of retailers last Christmas, only 24% of them thought that their most important focus area for increasing sales was customer service – but why wasn’t it 100%?
We’re firm believers that every business should be collecting validated, instant feedback throughout the year—but never more than at Christmas, when you’re able to gather even more data. Being able to access a huge amount of feedback, and see trends coming through via your feedback dashboard, means at any given time, management can see a helicopter overview of the businesses performance.
Analysing feedback trends, understanding what issues are occurring at what locations, and seeing what measures have fixed these issues over time—all are only possible if you’re able to truly get the voice of the customer via feedback. Often the intent to provide customers with a great experience exists—but unless you’re ready to ask your customers what they think, you won’t be ready to provide them with a great experience come Christmas time.Here at Customer Radar, we’re passionate about helping businesses overcome challenges to create a culture of customer accountability, and a better customer experience as a result. And that’s exactly what we can do this Christmas – get in touch if you’d like to find out how.