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Holiday Customer Service: Get Your Workforce to Focus!

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While the average person is fed up with continuous reports and assessments regarding the economy, the average business owner cannot get enough. The state of the economy doesn’t just affect your job security; it also affects the overall future of your business and all those that work for you. Economic trends and estimated consumer activity drive organizational decisions – including hiring. When companies hire, it is not done lightly, even when hiring temporary or seasonal help. Seasonal help can make or break your holiday customer service, which can make or break your business.

Market changes affect the way organizations employ workers. In the current economy, when hiring and developing seasonal help, what should you be focusing on? Simply put, no matter what type of business or which industry, concentration should be centered around customer service.

Why Holiday Customer Service?

Customer service in retail is imperative, now more than ever. It’s a war zone out there, with businesses fighting for their fair share of consumer spending. Overall spending has decreased due to a variety of factors, most importantly being that unemployment is still high and consumer confidence is low. Studies show that almost half of all consumers have altered their previous loyalties to certain brands in favor of cheaper, more cost-effective competitors. What studies also show is that brand loyalty increases when companies take steps towards becoming tech-savvy. This can be in products and services that are offered, digital options such as innovative websites or apps, behind-the-scenes business tools, as well as with knowledgeable and customer service-oriented employees.

Hiring Customer Service Personnel for the Holidays

Consumers not only want to know they are getting a good price, they want to be sure they are getting a good product for their money. When hiring new staff, the ability to show up on time is no longer Criteria #1. In today’s workplace, hiring managers should be focusing on intelligence and a positive attitude: are they smart enough to learn the business, and do they have the temperament that will allow them to make the customers happy? Advertise, interview, and use these two questions as candidate disqualifiers.

How Does this Apply to Seasonal Help and Holiday Customer Service?

Holiday and temporary workers are notorious for being inexperienced and uninformed. For a majority of these workers, it’s not their career and it’s probably not even in their field of experience (or interest). Seasonal jobs also do not come with the pay, incentives, and benefits of a permanent position. These issues can combine to create a ticking time bomb for eventual consumer dissatisfaction. There is no shortage of customer horror stories, especially during the holiday season.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Business from Holiday Disasters?

Hire right and train relentlessly – it doesn’t get more straightforward than that. Select employees, staying as stringent to the intelligence and attitude traits as you possibly can, and train them to be as helpful to consumers as they possibly can be. The probability that customers will be satisfied with the service these workers provide, and therefore remain loyal, will be directly proportional to the amount of effort hiring managers put into attaining and developing additional staff.

Retaining Temporary and Holiday Workers

Recruitment and training both have substantial associated costs. Retaining permanent employees, as well as part-time and holiday customer service workers, is the obvious solution to cut these expenses. Estimate the overall price tag related to the hiring and selection process for your organization. The cost of turnover will probably surprise you. Consider applying some of that expense towards incentives for quality seasonal employees. Why waste time on recruitment when a bonus or perk could keep your best temporary employees returning each year? And don’t underestimate the power of a good referral. If they have a great experience working for you, you can be sure they will tell their family and friends. (And remember, the inverse is also true.)

Holiday Customer Service: It Really Is That Important

Focusing on customer service, whether internal or external, is important to every business, especially in today’s market. Online and in-person, customers want to know they are getting the most bang for their buck – not just in product quality, but in the service they receive. Technology has created the ability to communicate at lightening speed. If one ill-trained worker causes a bad experience for a consumer, it’s not just the one customer that your business stands to lose. You may also lose the hundreds or thousands of potential customers that get online and read the bad review or the comments and blog posts that were written against you.

Online shopping has not eliminated the need for holiday customer service, either. If anything, technology’s affect on the way we communicate has produced a need for increased customer service skills when meeting consumers face-to-face. Increase your organization’s level of customer service by hiring your seasonal help to mirror your permanent staff.

For assistance with hiring, see How to Hire for the Holidays: 3 Ways to Get it Right.

Use TimeForge’s hiring and onboarding tools to easily manage your staffing needs during the holidays.  With TimeForge’s innovative online software, business owners and management are always at the top of their game. TimeForge makes quick work of painful tasks, like onboarding new employees – saving business owners valuable time and effort. Try TimeForge today!

If you found this post helpful, you might also like our holiday advice for new managers.

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