Sunday, November 23, 2008

Holidays & Shopping

What does the holiday season mean to business?  For many of us (or with clients in it!), it is the retail season.  Customer service is at a premium right now, because consumers are particularly sensitive about spending their money.  The service part is simple - customers are not always right, but they are always right about "their" money.  You just need to be thankful and take ownership of any problems for them.  So no matter what, take on their concerns - that will reassure them that they are being cared for.

All too often communication is hijacked by emotional responses, and the holiday season is rife with them.  To put yourself with the customer in a "we" posture, rather than an "us" vs. "them" will pay dividends.  Other small business owners have been asking me and my clients, how we can be doing so well in this economy.  Much of it has to do with the service provided.  A prime example of that is the Crema Cafe at 322 Main Street. (check it out)

There the owner, Tarit, constantly focuses on hospitality rather than customer service.  It is a nice way to transform the idea of service.  If you make people feel at home, not only do they feel more comfortable, they generally treat your staff and your business more respectfully.  The more you can shift your team into the idea that customers are part of your extended family and ultimately THE reason we all get paid, it helps the team feel more empowered to provide higher service and more thoughtfulness while providing service.

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