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BBB: Providing outstanding service during the holidays

Whether you are a brick-and-mortar retailer or an online business, the holiday season is sure to bring a flurry of activity to your doorstep. This may be especially true this year, as experts like the National Retail Federation forecast a healthy growth in retail sales during the holidays, even with shoppers concerned about inflation and economic uncertainty.

Providing top notch customer service not only feels like the right thing to do, but is sure to impact your bottom line. For businesses, elevating your customer service this holiday season can increase loyalty to your brand, all while delighting your customers. Every day is a good day to execute excellent customer service, but these practices can be especially critical during the stress of the holiday season.

Better Business Bureau recommends the following tips to help businesses provide outstanding customer service:

• Create a plan of action early. The forecast for consumer behavior may not be crystal clear, but you can still make sure shelves are stocked and you are promoting products that fit with shoppers’ current wants and needs. Keep in mind your chain of supply could be affected by current events, so plan accordingly.

• Double down on empathy. Given the nature of the holidays customers may be feeling stressed and anxious. For those time-crunched customers, a little empathy can go a long way. When issues need resolving, remember to accommodate whatever customer needs you can, within reason, and remember to thank them for their patience.

• Fix any bugs in your online presence. Make sure your website and online shop are up to date and running smoothly. Work out any bugs before holiday shopping really picks up. Consider investing in online advertising or social media marketing.

• Offer curbside pickup. Curbside pickup can help you and your customers save on shipping costs. In addition, this service can help you win over many consumers who got used to the service during the pandemic and want to continue saving time and money.

• Make a seasonal marketing strategy. Think up seasonal offers and spread the word. Some retailers sell gift certificates, hold holiday events, or offer discounts customers can use in January and February when the holiday shopping season dies down. If you have a brick-and-mortar store or a pop-up tent, plan your decorations and storefront ads. Use social media, local coupons, and your Google business profile to let customers know what you have to offer.

• Equip your staff to ensure quality customer service. If you are short staffed, or have a small customer service team, be transparent about your limited bandwidth and set realistic expectations. Building an FAQ page on your website can help your customers find an answer on their own. Provide multiple methods of contact including email, phone calls, direct messages on social media, or a built-in chat service to your website. It’s vital to have a customer service department that is accessible and responds within a reasonable timeframe.

For more tips visit BBB.org.

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Roseann Freitas, marketplace manager Hawai‘i, Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific, 900 Fort Street Mall, Ste. 1310, Honolulu, HI 96813 808-260-0643, bbb.org Start With Trust.
Source: The Garden Island

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