Why your customers plan for Christmas before you do

Does your company plan for Christmas once the festive season arrives, or is your customer service on top form all year round?

New research conducted by virtual assistant provider ava has revealed exactly when the British public plan for Christmas, and the results may persuade you to ramp up your customer service offering earlier than you’d planned.

More than one in four consumers (28 per cent) admit that they start thinking about Christmas in September/October.

There is a definite gender divide in the results, with women stating that they preferred to plan for Christmas earlier in the year. Some 35 per cent select September to October, compared to just 20 per cent of men.

The results also reveal a generational gap, where older age groups show themselves to be better prepared compared to younger people.

Around 38 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds selected November to December, whereas an average of 40 per cent of people aged 24 to 54 chose September to October

Graham L Morgan, business consultant at Business Doctors, gives his tips for maintaining consistently high levels of customer service: ‘Understand trends from the past few years. Look at the spikes and troughs and ensure that team members are prepared to correctly handle busy periods. Even a single day when customers experience poor service can have lasting consequences, especially given the impact social media has in steering perceptions.

‘Anticipate problems and have contingency plans to go above and beyond for customers. Snow is an obvious one but heat and, of course, floods can also impact on customer service. You will stand out if you don’t treat extreme circumstances as a reason to break your continuity of service.’

Lucie Greenwood, sales manager at ava says that while the research has shown that the majority of people will prepare for the festive season close to the time, businesses really can’t afford to be slack in other months.

‘It’s all about building up that customer loyalty; if people are treated well by your business, then they are more likely to remember you when the time for buying Christmas presents arrives.

‘On the other hand, if they have a negative experience then they may actively choose to avoid you. It’s much easier to retain loyal customers than it is to attract new ones, so it’s certainly worth putting the effort in.’

Further reading on Christmas

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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