As an industry, retail is huge. Nearly 16 million people work in the business, accounting for more than one in 10 workers. That means there’s a good chance that you either currently work or used to work in this expansive industry, and undoubtedly have a thorough understanding of how nightmarish the holidays can be. With back-to-school season just beginning (and Black Friday looming in the distance), let’s take a look at some tips that will help you make it through those angry customers and bizarre requests.
Plan The Schedule Well In Advance
In 2016, retailers hired an extra 570,000 people for the holiday season. That kind of fluctuation can cause serious problems, not only for the people being onboarded in record time, but also for those that already have their schedules set in stone; add in the fact that many of your employees will most likely be interested in time off and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. To avoid confusion, plan out a minimum coverage schedule based on the expected volume of customers. This will allow everyone to make their travel and family plans without worrying about being called in last minute.
Train Your Employees On How To Handle Stressed Customers
Although some are more stressful than others, most holidays carry a certain level of panic and anxiety in their preparation. This goes for both retail workers and customers. Because stressed customers can often become frustrated and upset, it’s ideal that your employees know how to handle them; approximately 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated, so screaming matches between customers and salespeople are not recommended. Most training sessions focus on de-escalating the situation through positive language and a calm demeanor; take the time to prepare your staff ahead of time and keep your fingers crossed!
Show Appreciation For Your Team
Whether you work for a huge corporation or one of the 28 million small businesses in the U.S., you are nothing without your team. From the veteran workers to those teens that just got hired for the month, it’s important that you show them how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication, especially during such a trying time. Any effort — whether it’s an offer of chocolate or an offsite party — will reassure your staff that you’re all in this together. However, it’s important to be inclusive; if you have an employee who uses a wheelchair (around 3.6 million people over the age of 15 in the U.S. rely on them) or has a certain allergy, make sure that they can still take part in the activity or the meal.
The average consumer spends around $684.79 on back-to-school shopping, and a staggering $1,007.24 on the winter holidays; only by doing your best to follow the above tips can you brave the tide of these demanding shoppers.