customer service stress

Don’t Let Holiday Stress Affect Customer Service

It’s a busy time of year for anyone involved in retail. Stores are busy, malls are open late, customer service representatives of all types are working long hours at a frenetic pace to satisfy the demands of holiday shoppers. And it’s not just gift shopping that makes this time so busy. An increase in socializing and entertaining around the holidays keeps grocery stores, bakeries, liquor sellers and vendors of all sorts hopping.

For anyone in the customer service area of retail, the holidays can mean an increase in impatient shoppers, customers who are disappointed when an item is sold out, increased product theft, cranky children and even crankier adults. It’s a time of increased customer complaints and decreased time to solve them. It’s important for companies to ensure that all staff who deal with the public are ready for this onslaught, and trained to deal with it in a way that benefits the company.

Patience is Golden

Anyone who works in customer service knows that patience is one of the most important traits for dealing with the public, especially when stress levels are high. So it’s a good idea to talk to customer service representatives, especially inexperienced ones, about patience throughout the busy shopping season.

Providing proper breaks for employees so that they can get away from the onslaught is imperative at this time. If shoppers are frazzled, so are those who are serving them. Tell employees to take their breaks, even if they feel they don’t need them.

Coping Skills

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Different people react differently to stress, and it’s important to let employees know that they have support and understanding when they start feeling the pressure. Sometimes, just knowing that management understands what’s happening can help an employee feel calmer and more in control of a situation.

If necessary, a short training session on coping skills for dealing with high-pressure situations can give employees some tools for relieving stress. This can help to ensure a negative encounter with a customer doesn’t escalate.

Celebrate the Season

Getting customer service representatives to see busy times as positive can be difficult when it just means hard work and long hours for them. But something as simple as decorating the store or office with festive ornaments and participating in the atmosphere of the season can help. If employees feel they are part of the celebration, they can better identify with holiday shoppers.

Naturally, employment laws prevent employers from imposing a religious celebration on their employees but treating the season as a happy, festive time for everyone, without being too specific, can create a general celebratory atmosphere that makes working more pleasant. And who doesn’t love a celebration?


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