As one of the busiest times of the year for many, keeping customer service levels high can be a difficult process for a lot of organizations.
While it’s important that you maintain your normal levels of customer service throughout the entire year, these three points will allow you to add some extra customer service to your small business over Christmas.
1. Keep them informed
You don’t have to speak personally to each and every one of your customers, but by putting up some notices or e-mailing those on your e-mail list and explaining when you’re going to be open over the Christmas period, your customers will feel as though you really have taken the time to think of them during this busy time of year.
Keeping your customers informed may only seem like a small point, but it’s one that will be extremely welcomed by your customers.
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2. Allow for longer returns
It might not make a vast difference to you, but if you extend your returns policy, your customers will love the fact that they don’t have to rush back to your store if they’ve purchased an item and no longer want it.
Of course, the same general rules need to continue to apply (i.e., the item must be in the same condition it was purchased in), but by adding an extra week or two onto your returns period, you should be able to instantly increase customer satisfaction.
While this does, in theory, only relate to retail businesses, the basic premise can be applied to most businesses.
For example, if you’re a service based business, have submitted a cost proposal or an invoice and your normal business terms state you need a reply / payment within 7 days, consider extending it to give the customer some extra time to deal with it over Christmas.
3. Remember that you’re a business
When you work for someone else, you generally have the opportunity to have as long as you want off over Christmas – as long as you have the holidays to use, many employers will let you take them all over the Christmas period if you wished.
As a small business owner, however, that’s no longer a feasible possibility, as aside from the fact that generally speaking, the more days you are open, the more money you’ll bring in, the longer you’re closed, the less understanding your customers are going to be.
Of course, no one expects a business to be open on Christmas Day, but you really do need to consider when your customers are expecting you to be open throughout the festive season.
Christmas is a fantastic time of the year, but one that can be extremely stressful – not just for shoppers, but businesses, too – and by following these three points, you should be able to ensure your small businesses provides some extra customer service over the Christmas period.
This post was originally featured on December 15, 2011.