Getting through the Christmas crush intact

For those who are about to go into retail battle, we salute you.

Christmas is generally the most wonderful time of year, but for retail workers it’s typically like trying to wade through a pool of frenzied piranhas (otherwise known as customers).

As the pressure to find the perfect gift by the Christmas deadline ramps up, customers can find themselves under stress – which can manifest as lashing out at sales staff who are only trying to help.

There are a few things you and your staff can do to make sure that you make it through the other side of the Christmas retail crush with your sanity intact.

Maintain perspective

A little perspective goes a long way.

There are very few people who enjoy the outright insanity of the Christmas retail period, but the great thing about it is that it’s finite in nature.

It will end.

It may be hard to get your head around this at 1pm on a Saturday when you can barely walk through your store, but this is a temporary thing.

You may be barked at by customers, but at the end of the day you have a chance of making Christmas just that little bit brighter for someone by providing sterling customer service.

Showcase excellent product knowledge

This is important at all stages of the year, but especially so at Christmas.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.

They’ve scoured the four corners of the gargantuan local shopping centre and your store is their last stop before they can get into the car and begin their odyssey home.

Imagine they get into the store and ask sales staff “does this product has feature X”. If your staff’s answer is “…maybe?”, then something’s gone wrong here.

From a customer perspective, it’s infuriating, and doesn’t exactly paint your staff as experts in their field.

A lot of retailers will hire Christmas casuals this time of year, so preparation to educate your staff on the features of your products and services is crucial.

 Appreciate your staff

Did you know that January is when a lot of people move jobs?

There’s something about the new year which has people thinking about new opportunities out there.

A person’s job movement can often be traced back to a less than stellar experience at their previous role.

Imagine your employee has gotten through the busiest time of year without a word of appreciation from management about their hard work.

You may be from the ‘the pay-cheque’s thanks enough’ school, but people really do appreciate appreciation.

Recognition of their effort can come from a kind word, but it could also come from a pre-defined reward at the end of the period, such as a staff lunch or fun trip.

It shows that you really do appreciate the staff’s efforts, and you’re willing to go further than words to show it.

Motivate the team

Another way to motivate staff – not just to make through the Christmas crush, but also make your store thrive – is to introduce a rewards system.

There’s a reason that ‘Employee of the Month’ awards work.

They may not be everybody’s focus, but if there’s a gift card on the line for the staff member who exhibits the best sales service or bags the most sales then it could sharpen focus.

Again, these don’t have to be extravagant in nature, but letting staff know that there’s something in it for them is a great way to motivate.

There’s nothing worse than working your butt off for somebody else’s gain while you don’t gain anything extra.

After all, why go the extra mile if you’re just going to be paid the same wage anyhow?

Got any tips that have helped you get through the Christmas crush? Head over to our Facebook page to let us know.