The holidays are an exciting time of the year. However, during the holiday rush, we’re familiar with the long shopping lines, scrambling around to get last-minute gifts, and returning gifts for something more preferred, which can make a joyful season stressful - for both shoppers and employees. Thankfully, there are steps we can take to ensure the best customer service, whether you’re on the giving or receiving end.
As customers, it can be easy to forget what it’s like to be in the employee’s shoes and want a sense of instant gratification. We’ve all been there, especially when it feels like a million things are going on in our daily lives. Here’s a quick guide to changing our perspective and paving the way to a more positive shopping experience.
1. Treat others with respect. Employees have seen it all — items getting knocked off the shelf, unpleasant comments for issues out of their control, etc. By taking steps to make their job a little easier, we demonstrate understanding and make them feel valued, which leads to better customer service in the long run.
2. Express gratitude. By giving them acknowledgment for a service or product they provide, we show we appreciate their hard work. Take some time to say thank you to an employee or leave them a positive review. Just like a happy customer, we want a happy employee!
3. Practice grace and patience. Employees and service providers are human, too. If a product runs out or a line is long, they feel your pain — but they can’t control external factors. If we open our hearts and look past ourselves, we can be mindful before jumping to conclusions, and offer employees a chance to figure things out.
As employees, it can be a challenge to balance the job and customers’ expectations. There are ways that employees or service providers can improve performance to ensure better customer satisfaction.
1. Provide prompt assistance. If a customer made an appointment and has an allotted time, stay true to the time provided for the service. Punctuality is key to building trust and can help lead to a better relationship with the customer.
2. Be honest when there’s a mistake. Mistakes happen - acknowledging them is a key to great communication. It makes a difference in the other person’s life by showing that you value their time as well.
3. Have a positive attitude. Instead of focusing on the situation taking up your time and causing you trouble, try focusing on the approach you can take. Is there a solution-oriented goal that leads to better service for both of you? Asking questions like this can allow you to take a step back and redirect your thought process.
Regardless of what side we are on, maintaining a positive attitude, treating others with respect, and staying candid can lead to better experiences. By being compassionate, we can shift our mindset, and focus on the joy the holiday season is meant for.
Vanessa De Jesus Guzman is an Educator and a Board Certified Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked with children and families for two decades. Vanessa is the owner and CEO of Free to Be Mindful - a private practice located in Ridgefield, New Jersey.
Vanessa is passionate about helping moms, kids and educators with mindful living, mental health and personal growth through efforts including:
Host of the Free to Be Mindful Podcast which provides bite-sized tips and guided meditations to anyone working with kids
Founder of Amiga Moms, a supportive network for 21st century moms offering educational events founded in mindfulness
Public Speaking and Professional Development for parents, educators and young adults on topics such as mindfulness, building healthy relationships with kids, self care, mental health and more.