Topic: Retail Sales

5 Incredibly Easy Things You Can Do To Bring the Holiday Spirit To Your Customers

By Bob Phibbs

What is the biggest problem facing quick service restaurants (QSR,) hotels and most all retail?

We've devalued our customers. We've believed the myths of the Analyticals that the customer just wants to get the room key, the widget, the burrito - FAST.

And so, the employees treat those customers like receivers - someone getting what is dispensed.

The trouble with that is that the more you devalue the customer, the more angry, perturbed, pissed, upset, furious, enraged, wild-eyed, irritated, indignant, incensed and generally exasperated they will be if they have to explain something, have to rephrase, or have to wait.

And customers at this time of the year have to wait.

Here are 5 ways to bring the holiday spirit to your restaurant and retail customers:

1. Empower managers to set a positive intention.
When the manager shows up for their shift they are in charge of setting the mood and tone for the rest of the crew. It's management's job to set the intention and it's up to the crew to help people have a happy holiday. If a manager arrives at work thinking it's going to be a terrible day or shift, nine times out of 10, that's exactly what will happen. By keeping a positive attitude and a high-level spirit even during the busiest of times, the crew will follow suit.

2. Remind your employees the customers come first.
Many employees fail to realize that it's up to them to make the customers' holiday happy, not the other way around. If a customer is having a bad day, looks harried or otherwise stressed, a kind word, friendly smile or other gesture of kindness will go a long way. Nobody kicks an employee they like.

3. Bring the interaction back to the experience.
Many new technologies have removed some level of employee/customer interaction. Employees should look for any and every way to communicate and acknowledge customers. The moment the customer comes into your store is the moment they have a chance to have a better holiday.

4. Let employees “take 5” to process negative encounters.
If an employee has someone yell at them or some other altercation, let them take five minutes to compose themselves after the encounter occurs. Your employees need time to process and shake off the rattling interaction so they can leave the situation behind them. Managers tend to leave employees on the line instead of letting them process the encounter. If you don't let them process what has just happened, they take it out on the rest of the crew or the next person in line.

5. Recognize a job well done.
Employee recognition awards during the holiday season are one way managers can keep the crew in a positive frame of mind. Giving a gift card at an unexpected time to an employee (rather than the entire crew for hitting a goal) goes a long way. You might give one for one employee having managed a big rush, went out of their way for a customer or had a great spirit while doing a dull job. It also helps to keep employees in the holiday spirit.

As Mike Dooley says, “Being fair and reasonable will earn you respect and admiration, but being genuinely kind will make you a total love magnet.”

What would you add?

You might also want to read Phibbs' 50 Things Retail Employees Should Never Do During the Holidays

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