Holiday Shopper Stress | Shopper Holding Head with Presents

Monthly Mash and The Sympathetic Holiday Shopper

Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.

VOLUME 37: November 2014

Thoughts on the Customer: The Sympathetic Holiday Shopper

If you read our December 11 blog post, you know that we recently conducted a survey of consumer attitudes on holiday shopping. One of the findings you might have noticed was that 86.8% of respondents said they have “felt sorry” for retail workers who work on holidays. This idea is supported by a recent survey from LoyaltyOne which found that 50% of consumers think that stores being open all day on Thanksgiving day is a bad idea.

Holiday Shopper Stress | Shopper Holding Head with PresentsIt should be noted that both our question and LoyaltyOne’s only scratch the surface of this topic and also don’t (seem to) account for the difference in feelings people might have for industries that are generally expected to be open on holidays, like movie theaters and restaurants. However, the two data points do give an indication of overall sentiment.

In our survey, we collected some interesting anecdotal data as well through an open-ended question: “What do you dislike most about holiday shopping?” We received a wide array of responses to this question, and some of the strongest, most impassioned responses were around the commercialization of the holidays and making staff work on holidays.

Based on the above, I think it is safe to come to two conclusions: that staff working holidays is something a) most people have a negative opinion of and b) many people care about deeply.

So what should organizational leaders take away from this survey? My takeaway is that outside of the traditional holiday service industries, being open on national holidays likely has a bigger negative impact on one’s brand than might be evident. It very well could be a variation of the classic customer service dilemma: it is easy to see the cost savings from cutting customer service functions; it is less easy to see the long term economic impact of bad customer service.

Similarly, it is easy to see the additional revenue that comes from opening on a holiday; it’s harder to see what the long term impact to the brand is. Retailers might want to be some research of their own about whether or not opening on holidays is worth it in the long run.

The Month in Customer Service Blogging

A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience we read this past month.

Someone Was Listening

Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.

This series of phone calls in Documentation and The Tale of Four Phone Calls might seem like it could be a “mystery shopper” script, but it is a real-life demonstration of  how documentation can be a key player in saving your customers time and hassle.

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By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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