Some great tips from LLF member Katie Wells of K.E.W. Solutions for getting you and your employees ready for the holiday rush!

With the holidays quickly approaching, it is many small business owners most profitable AND stressful time of year. A few quick customer service reminders can take your profits to the next level by simply ensuring a great connection with each potential customer that walks through your door. Some of these may sound simple, but have you discussed them with your employees? Do you model these behaviors yourself?

  1. Smile and Make Eye Contact: This sounds so simple and I know you’ve heard it before, but this is the Olympics of Customer Service. How many of us can honestly say we do this with every customer, every time? It is actually really hard. Time and time again, studies show us this is the easiest way to connect to another human being.
  2. Acknowledge Your Customers When They Walk Through the Door: I call this the “Welcome to Moe’s” conundrum. If you’ve ever been to the fast-casual chain, you’ve been greeted with a shout from all the employees upon arrival. You might love it or hate it, but you certainly remember it. You don’t have to shout your greeting, but do find something you are comfortable with that fits your setting. No matter what, greetings do matter and make us feel comfortable in a space.
  3. Wear a Nametag: Make it easy for people to connect with you and your employees. Don’t make us guess who works in the store. Studies show this is one of the easiest ways to increase profits in a retail environment.
  4. Be Pro-Active: Take the initiative to speak to customers – they expect this from you. They will give you verbal and non-verbal ques if they want the conversation to continue. Know the cues!
  5. Use Your EQ: EQ is our Emotional Intelligence. Some customers want to be left alone and some want to be your best friend. Know the difference. Good customer service doesn’t mean we are smiling and happy all the time. It means we have the ability to read peoples facial expressions, body language and verbal cues to determine what they want from us and then, we modify our behavior accordingly.
  6. Don’t Dilly-Dally: The holidays are busy. People are stressed out. Nothing is more frustrating to a hurried customer than moving at a snail’s pace. Have a sense of urgency when it is appropriate. This goes back to use your EQ.
  7. Watch those facial expressions: Of course you are stressed out too but don’t let it show! What facial expressions do you make when a customer is complaining? Know this and work on it when you need to.
  8. Approach Show-Roomers with Care: Some people might be perusing your store in person, to only turn around and order goods online. How frustrating! It’s okay to gently and politely engage these folks in conversation. Don’t call them out but let them know what your store brings to the community: jobs, economic impact and thank them for coming in by reminding them it is potential customers like them that keep you in business.
  9. Words Matter: Sometimes, as small business owners, we really get to know our customers and they can become our friends, which is great. But what’s not great, is when we start to complain to those friends about our small business owner problems, when they are the ones supporting us. If they are in your store, woo them, don’t boo them.
  10. Have Fun! If you are having fun with what you do, your customers (internal and external) will too. Fun is contagious – Pass it on!
Jamee Haley
Executive Director at Lowcountry Local First