The next six weeks are "the most wonderful time of the year." Well, at least until you find yourself about ready to snap over the person who just stole your parking spot!
The holidays can be wonderful, and from time to time a bit trying. Just remember that your own attitude, behaviors, and actions ultimately determine how your holiday goes.
Here’s a list of tips and actions anyone working retail can use for a reasonably stress-free, enjoyable, and productive holiday. (Most work for non-retail teams as well.)
- Have fun! It's pretty hard to be stressed when you're bent on having fun. Challenge a colleague to a sales contest, or who can have the most add-ons in the next hour. Have fun with customers - and their children. Time goes faster when you're having fun.
- Try to improve your performance from the day before. Aim for a higher ADS or UPT. Shoot for 110% of goal. It's amazing how the little things don't bother you as much when you're striving to be better.
- Keep conversations with your co-workers positive and upbeat. Don't participate in gossip and negativity. You don't want to land on the naughty list.
- Try to do something nice for someone else every day. Maybe leave a little gift for a co-worker. Don't tell anyone.
- Keep smiling. The best part about giving smiles is that you get them in return, or at least people think you're a little crazy which may true on some days. That can be fun too.
- Ask to take five minutes off the floor when you get that crazy and overwhelmed feeling. Even better, suggest a five minute breather to a co-worker who clearly needs it.
- If business is slow, ask a colleague to watch you and give you feedback about what you can do even better. A little tip or two can make a huge difference in your day.
- Make an effort to leave work at work. I knew a manager who always clapped her hands when she walked out the door at the end of a shift. It was her way of physically moving from work mode to personal life mode.
- Make an effort to leave any personal issues at home, or at least leave them in the car. Think of the lease line at your store as an attitude line. When you cross it, you need to make sure you have the best possible attitude.
- Never be so busy that you don't take a moment to know your customer a bit better or do something a little extra special for him/her. It will increase your average sale, and that will improve your attitude.
- Give your customer choices.It's great service and great for business. Studies show that customers are more likely to make a purchase if they are asked to choose between different products. Customers also find it is easier to make a purchase decision when choosing between specific products, not a general "to buy or not to buy."
- Leave home early to give yourself plenty of time to get to work. Those extra minutes can ensure a stress-free start to your workday. Being late is also not a good thing when your colleagues are depending on you.
- Don't stop the sale. It's bad for business and unfair to your customer. Never say, "Will there be anything else?" Wait until your customer says he/she is done. Until then, keep working your customer's list and helping them find gifts for themselves, too.
- Don't skip the things that keep you centered. Whether it's church, the gym, Starbucks, or sappy holiday movies, don't be too tired to do what you like to do. Personally, I find my annual viewing of Elf important to my holiday performance.
- Don't skip your breaks. They're extremely important to being productive and having a good attitude. Use your phone during your breaks to take a breather from the hustle and bustle. Listen to some music. Text a friend or loved one. Decompress. And when you're not on break, avoid disturbing those who are.
- Use good manners. Say "Please" at every opportunity. "Please" is a word that every person appreciates. There's big difference between "Sign here" and "Please sign here." You really cannot overuse the word "please." Never miss a chance to look your customer in the eye and say "Thank you." Avoid answering or otherwise talking on the phone when ringing up a sale.
- Skip the food court and bring something special for lunch or dinner unless, that is, you love lines. Plan your meals for the entire week and give yourself one less thing to think about before work. Organize a staff potluck on the weekends.
- Help your customers buy themselves a gift, too. It really is the best gift, since the recipient gets what he/she wants, and it certainly helps your sales results.
- Treat yourself to something special. You may not be able to buy yourself something every day, but it doesn't have to be a treat that costs money. Call a friend you haven't spoken to recently. Take five extra minutes of quiet time in the morning or evening. Sometimes you need to reward yourself for a good day or even a bad one.
- Help a colleague with her/his sale. You can get the product, be a silent assistant by bringing your colleague additional products, or jump in and add your expertise if appropriate.
- Watch for customers who are overwhelmed. To you it might just look busy, but to a customer who needs something in particular and doesn't know where to find it, your busy store can look like pure chaos.
- Get your own holiday shopping done early, unless you love that last-minute rush. Go shopping because you want to, not because you have to.
- Don't take things personally, especially when dealing with an unhappy customer. Don't let other people's character defects bring out your own. Fix the problem and move on. Odds are good the next customer is a happy one.
- Invest in some new shoes if your current pair is worn or not comfortable. Seriously. Happy feet make for a happy you. That's one of the best tips I got when I started retail, many holidays ago.
- Focus on the spirit of the holiday. Throw a little money in the red bucket on the way to work. Walk down and watch the kids get ready to visit Santa. Don't watch the ones in line who are still an hour away from Santa. That's never pretty, but it can be fun to watch if you're not one of the parents. If you're downtown, step outside and watch the shoppers.
- Go above and beyond for every customer. (Get it? #26!) Karma is a wonderful thing, and holiday Karma is the best.
So let me ask, which of these tips can you apply to create a more stress-free, enjoyable, and productive holiday?
- Doug Fleener
I speak, consult, coach, and offer online trainings to retail, hospitality, banking, professional services and other customer-focused companies and associations. Sorry, but I don't do windows. Learn more about DougFleener.com.