You don’t want your business rep tarnished over the holidays. However, due to increased sales volume, it’s a worry that your customer service could slip, hurting your reputation.
High volume is overwhelming. When you see a seemingly unending line or endless phone calls, it's understandable that you become stressed and tackle the line like a machine - churning out one transaction after another. But the key word there is transaction. When you make it transactional, operating out of stress, you can ensure that the customer feels like a processed transaction, not cared for.
The way to fight against this stress mode and machine-like, transaction mentality is to focus on the one, not the many.
This is what you should encourage your employees to do. Encourage them to see each customer as an individual and talk with them as such.
It may be helpful to give your employees some ideas for non-transactional conversation starters (asking how shopping is going, genuine compliments, etc.). However, you may want to emphasize that interactions should be personalized. I’ve been in lines and heard sales associates ask each person the same thing, which made it seem like an obligation rather than genuine care. Encourage your employees to think of customers as individuals to serve, rather than transactions to be processed.
Is your worry that it will take too long? It probably won’t. When I worked with Judy, she talked to almost everyone on a personal level, but customers were respectful to those in line behind them and would move along - typically talking only the time it took for them to be served.
I can’t guarantee that serving individuals well won’t take more time. But wouldn’t that investment be worth it?
It's like driving. A bad driver may stressfully speed through the miles as quickly as possible, doing the bare minimum it takes to get to their destination. But a good driver is faithfully attentive in each mile they drive. The good driver may take more time getting to a destination, but the extra care the driver took lowers the risk of a speeding ticket or car accident. Just like a good driver who is faithfully attentive to each mile, you maintain great customer service by faithfully serving one customer at a time.
If you want to maintain customer service over the holidays - encourage your employees to be faithfully attentive to each customer, instead of having them focus on shortening the lines. Their ultimate goal will then be great customer service, rather than a quickly-processed line.
Exceptional customer service doesn’t happen by stressfully processing the many.
Exceptional customer service is earned by serving each customer well.