This holiday season, it may be difficult to find seasonal employees. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to lessen the impact of the labor shortage on your business and your bottom line. In fact, with the right plan in place, you may not need to hire seasonal workers at all.
Investing in the right technology or e-commerce platform can help you meet the needs of your customers throughout the holiday season — while also saving you the additional effort and expense required with hiring seasonal workers. It can also level the playing field and allow your small businesses to compete with larger outlets within, and even outside of, your local area.
Be prepared for delays
It’s no secret the country is experiencing supply chain issues. This makes it extra important to communicate with your customers about any potential shortages or delays.
If your business is experiencing delays, consider posting signage at your location and notices on your website so customers know what to expect. This is the time when customer service should be at an all-time high.
Make things easy for your customers
When customers have to wait for information, they may become impatient. Just like they should be informed about any potential delays on certain products beforehand, there should also be an outlet where they can find answers to any questions they may have.
Make sure your FAQ page is detailed and interactive to allow employees to focus on other tasks. Things should be so seamless that a live customer service agent will only be needed in an emergency.
This is a great time to email your customer base with answers to the most common questions in addition to posting them on your website. Doing so will not only alleviate the influx of calls and questions, but it will also keep you top of mind for your customers.
One of the best things you can do is make it easy for customers to find your site or discounts. A few things you can do to bring your site to the forefront include:
- Partnering with companies that provide discounts
- Joining sites that give coupon codes
- Using SMS text messaging to send out deals
- Email marketing
Chatbots are hot right now. And when used correctly, they can save you time and increase your bottom line. Chatbots make it easy to keep in touch and create a deeper relationship with your customers. Bots can also help to customize the customer experience and help guide your customers to items they may not know you have.
Automation is key when facing the dilemma of not having seasonal workers to assist. If you’re going to use a new tool, make sure you test it fully to ensure it’s easy for your customers to navigate. That way, you don’t have to worry about whether a customer service specialist is available, because the bot is doing everything for you. A few chatbot tools you can choose from include:
Use social media
Social media is another great way to help your ideal customers find you. Comment selling is a trick many business owners use to increase revenue from social media pages without relying on an increased workload.
CommentSold is an automated invoicing tool for Facebook that allows you to share details about items not yet available in your store. When shoppers see something they like, they comment “sold” with specifics on what style they want, and the invoice goes directly to their Facebook Messenger app.
With comment selling, you can sell more items than you have room for in your shop while also giving you and your employees more time to focus on other responsibilities.
Again, be sure to test whatever tools you are planning to use to boost your sales before the holiday rush begins.
Start early, and look ahead
Kicking off the holiday season with an early sale will give your customers an incentive to shop early and give your business a leg up on the competition, while also helping you get ahead of shortages and delays.
If you see success with your new strategies during the holidays, you might build on these platforms to continue boosting your business in the new year. Consider extending a holiday sale into January or sending a special “thank you” offer to your new customers in 2022, for example.
If you’re using software and automated tools this holiday season, you may have a threshold amount you pay monthly. If you’ll be increasing the number of people using a platform, you’ll want to be sure and budget for those additional costs.
Also, think about the emails and discounts you’ll send out, and make sure you have the bandwidth to withstand additional communications and provide additional service to customers.
You should be listening to customer needs throughout the year, but as the holiday season approaches, pay attention to how you might address their needs without additional workers. Customers will tell you what they want and how you can make their experience more convenient. This could be as easy as making a few changes to your website.
Be patient and communicative
The holiday rush is always hectic. You must be patient with your existing staff. Make sure they have what they need, are well trained on processes and software, and can fill in the gaps where needed. This is not the time to treat them unfairly or make them feel unappreciated. This is a time for all hands on deck.
Homebase’s mobile app comes with a built-in team communication tool that makes it easy to keep in touch with your employees and ensure they have everything they need to handle the rush. You can send messages to individuals, groups, or your entire team. Plus, new team members are also automatically added, so there’s no need to share phone numbers, circulate emails, or update group chats.