Customer service lessons inspired by 5 Christmas characters
Christmas is always an extremely busy time for contact centres. However, after the disruptions of the pandemic, this Christmas is likely to bring even greater pressure. Consumers will be looking for a perfect experience to hopefully bring the year to a brighter end. Yet, supply chain issues leading to the unavailability of many products may cause frustrations, increased call volumes and unhappy customers.
So how can customer service staff ensure that everyone has a Happy Christmas? Here are some good (and bad) customer service lessons inspired by Christmas characters.
After a full shift answering calls or emails from angry customers, it’s tempting to wish that Christmas was cancelled. Or as Ebenezer Scrooge in a Christmas Carol puts it, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.”
However justified, modelling Scrooge-like behaviour is unlikely to go down well with customers (or managers). Instead, learn the same lessons as Scrooge, display empathy and understanding and lose the humbug. After all, as Dickens points out at the end of the book, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.”
2. Christmas Elves
At the other end of the spectrum from Scrooge, Santa’s elves are full of the spirit of Christmas. In fact, it is their entire lives, from collecting lists, monitoring children’s behaviour, building toys, ensuring the sleigh is ready and of course helping on the big day itself.
Customer service agents have a lot in common with elves. While keeping up the same level of relentless positivity might be wearing over time, you do have the (magic) ability to solve customer problems and essentially make their Christmas happen. And you don’t need to wear a pointy hat, muck out the reindeer or live at the North Pole to do it.
3. Customer service tips inspired by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
It is easy to feel overlooked when employed in a contact centre, particularly if you’re working at home and don’t have the Christmas camaraderie of being in the office. However, unlike Rudolph, at least you don’t have other reindeer laughing at the colour of your nose (hopefully).
The lesson from the red-nosed reindeer is simple – be patient and your time will come. You’ll find yourself able to help a customer solve a particularly complex issue, just as Rudolph was able to guide Santa and his sleigh and ensure everyone successfully received their presents. You might even go down in (contact centre) history.
4. Customer service lessons inspired the Grinch
Another character in the Scrooge mould, Dr Seuss’ green-furred Grinch hates Christmas and spends his time trying to disrupt it, stealing the presents and decorations from the nearby town of Whoville. We’ve all got a bit of the Grinch’s cynicism in us, especially when exhausted by the pressures of Christmas.
If you come across ‘Grinches’ on the phone don’t let their bad temper infect you – keep polite, be reassuring that you can solve their issue and show empathy with their plight. After all, at the end of the book the Grinch realises that Christmas is about more than material things and turns over a new leaf. We’re not promising that you’ll have the same affect on every angry customer you come across, but you can at least try.
5. Father Christmas
Saving the best until last, Santa offers a lesson in how to deliver perfect service. As described in last year’s blog he always keeps his promises, delivers on time, spends hours listening to the Voice of the Customer by reading children’s lists, and is always festive and jolly.
But the key lesson is that he doesn’t do this alone – he’s supported by an army of elves, a crack team of reindeer and of course Mrs Christmas. Like Christmas, customer service requires real teamwork, supporting colleagues to ensure that everyone you come in contact with has a happy and merry festive season.
So, in the run-up to the big day keep your energy levels high, take the time to help your co-workers and (unlike Father Christmas) don’t overdo it on the whisky and mince pies during office hours…