How to Put a Bit of Cheer Into Your Customer Service this Holiday Season

The end-of-year holidays can be a sad and lonely time for many people. And the added stress of holiday to-do lists, running around, and unmet expectations can result in very short fuses and angry customers. So this holiday season, why not put a bit of cheer into your customer service to make all your customers feel special—that they are being listened to and cared about.

Real World Story:

As customer service professionals, we need to understand a very important concept: the upcoming holidays should be a very special time that is filled with love and joy. happy xmas employeeIt should be a time for sharing and making memories with family and friends. Unfortunately, for many people, this isn’t always possible. Life gets in the way. Death, illness, accidents, divorce, money and debt problems—the list goes on and on. While the feelings and emotions involved in these circumstances are bad enough during any other time of the year, they are greatly intensified during the holidays.

While we may not know much about the person who is standing in front of us at the check-out counter or who is on the other side of a service phone call, we can most always tell when someone is having a bad day. So this holiday season, let’s step up our efforts to provide exceptional service to everyone. Who knows? Your extra effort may very well be the only good thing to happen to someone in need of cheering up by a friendly voice or a warm smile. You just never know.

Strategies that Turn it Around:

  1. Prepare mentally and physically. Before you can help others, you need to prepare your mind and body first. A mentally and physically sound customer service rep can always pass on her great energy to customers. For six great tips for preparing mentally and physically, please read my blog post How to boost your mind and body to deliver exceptional customer service (July 2, 2015).
  2. Listen. Let customers tell you their story. Don’t interrupt them while they are talking. Most people will feel great cheer by just being able to tell someone about the problem they are having. Half of the problem is then already solved when customers feel they are genuinely being heard.
  3. Show empathy. While you shouldn’t interrupt customers who are telling you their stories, you should show sincere empathy. Soften the tone of your voice, slow down your speech to demonstrate thoughtfulness, look the customer in the eyes, smile or nod in agreement, frown in support. By showing empathy, your customers will feel a human connnection to you. That may very well be all that they wanted in the first place, even if they didn’t realize it themselves.
  4. Follow up. If your company policies allow for it (and they should), call a customer back to ensure his problem was resolved to his satisfaction. In the process, reach out to make sure your customer is having a better day. An unexpected yet simple, “Have a fantastic day” can bring cheer into a customer’s life.

Remember: The end-of-year holidays aren’t postcard perfect for everyone. This may be an especially difficult time for some of your customers. When you interact with customers who are having a problem, inject a bit of cheer into your customer service. Show your customers that you care about them and their problems. This may very well be the best gift you can give someone (and yourself) this holiday season. Now that’s something to cheer about!

Do YOU do anything differently when interacting with customers during the end-of-year holidays season? Please share in the comments section below.

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