It’s the time of year many organizations are adding “seasonal help.” In other words, they are increasing staff through temporary hires to get them through the busy holiday season.
A quick web search revealed many companies adding employees to get them through the crunch of business. Of particular note was the number of newspapers both reporting retailers from Macys to Toys R Us that are hiring – and reminding their readers to remember smaller businesses as potential employers during the holidays.
Here is the critical problem many managers and their organizations fail to understand:
Your “seasonal” employee can create enduring impressions upon your customers and prospects.
When doing business with you, customers do not make the distinction between how they are treated by your seasonal staff as opposed to your on-going employees.
If I am mistreated or ignored when I’m doing business with you, I won’t go, “Oh, wait! That’s a holiday employee. It’s OK, then.” Instead, I’ll tell my family and friends how rudely the experience was doing business with you. You don’t get a pass because the employee is part-time.
Naturally, you cannot expect your new, seasonal employee to have the product knowledge – or even service savvy – of your longer-term team. However, what you should expect – and require – of everyone that will service customers is a friendly attitude and an obsession to assist.
Sure, your seasonal employees are going to encounter surly, unappreciative customers. (Some may even have pepper spray!) However, they need to recognize their job is to make things easier for customers – not just put in their time to process transactions.
As a customer, I DO understand that not everyone on your team during this stressful, busy time will know everything about your product line. What I WON’T accept is an unhelpful attitude, or the lack of desire to help me.
They don’t have to know every answer. They do need to display the commitment to help discover it for me.
This is the critical message to communicate with your entire team:
In the customer’s eyes, you ARE our business. You are being asked to do many things during this holiday season, but the most important one is to display the type of helpful, positive attitude and approach that will keep that customer coming back long after this holiday season is over.
Ask yourself, “If I was being treated exactly as I am treating this customer right now, would it make me thrilled about doing business here?”
If not, change how you are talking to and treating the customer!
In fact – that’s not a bad message for ALL of us!