The Day After Christmas

Day After Christmas
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 For years, everyone has been talking about the day after Thanksgiving. Now a regular term in our society, Black Friday was originally a retailer only term. It was used to describe the selling season for retailers where the year turned from being in the red on the P&L statement to being in the black. So much emphasis is placed on sales and events and merchandise for Black Friday. It is a cultural phenomenon.

People stand in lines for hours and what used to be a single day has now grown into multiple days. 

But, what about the day after Christmas? Do you realize, from a customer perspective, a retailer will do more to build loyalty and word of mouth referrals by what they do the day after Christmas then what they do the day after Thanksgiving? Think about it. The day after Christmas is when returns and exchanges happen. And the most powerful impression you will ever make with a customer is during those moments. We like to believe it's about the sales and the deals, but honestly, customers can get sales and deals everywhere - especially online. What they crave though, is service. 

Here are 5 Tips to help you succeed on the day after Christmas:

  1. Thoroughly Train Your Employees. They need to be ready. They need to know how to make the customers return easy and painless and pleasant. 
  2. Never let them see you frown. I cannot tell you the number of times I went to return an item and the employees behind the counter made such a big deal out if it. They made me feel like I was taking advantage or doing something wrong. It's not my fault my cousin got me a small and I am a large. Yes, there are some customers who are taking advantage - BUT THEY ARE THE FEW. 
  1. Rotate your Staff. Too many retailers place the "best" person in the firing line with returns and exchanges. Quickly, this person gets beat down and their smile starts to waiver and his or her patience begins to suffer - happens to the best of us. Have a system of rotating people into the lines to keep everyone fresh. In my stores, everyone served one hour in the returns and exchanges line. It spread the workload out and (byproduct) helped them sell better on the front end when they heard the reasons why.  
  1. Conduct a Dress Rehearsal. Before the customers arrive and the chaos ensues, conduct a dress rehearsal with your employees. This is the process of practicing proper return d exchange procedures. Test them. Create specific scenarios for the "customers" to present. Remember, it's not about tripping them up or fooling them, it's about building their confidence for when they are in front of the customer. 
  2. Have separate lines for return and exchanges. This allows people to process quicker. Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than to wait in a long line, get to their turn, and then be told go find what you want and bring it back here to exchange. Don't make your exchange customers compete with your return customers. Exchanges are letting you keep the revenue, whereas returns are not unless you keep them with your selling skill. 

Customers no longer want to have their expectations met, they want them exceeded. You have to WOW them to get them coming back. And the best opportunity you will ever have to wow them is how you handle the problems. Always know this - the problem is not the problem, They may have a return and you may think that is their problem. but the truth is not getting what they want is the real problem.

Comfort them and make them feel like your priority is for them to get what they want. Not keep you money.