I learned some of the most valuable customer service lessons from Santa Claus.
Back when I was a student, I worked at a local mall during the holiday season as one of Santa’s elves. My job was, as they put it, “simple.” All I had to do was introduce children to Santa, and snap beautiful pictures of them that their families will proudly hang up over the fireplace and continue to do so every Christmas.
“Simple,” as I learned, isn’t simple without “Santa style” customer service.
I like to think of Santa as the father of customer service. After all, most of us grow up being “served” by Santa. Working with Santa made me realize Santa Claus was our first customer service teacher.
Customer Service Lessons We Can All Learn From Santa
Smile, and let customers know you will get to them
Santa has the toughest customers: Children. ALL the children in the world. They all want to be served right now, and they express this by throwing temper tantrums. Santa never lets this discourage him. At the mall, Santa would constantly smile and wave to all the children waiting in line to get their pictures taken with him. This small gesture reassured them that their turn would come eventually and kept most of them calm.
Greet customers if they are your friend
A simple “Ho, ho, ho, I remember you from last year!” made kids feel extra important. I had always been taught to try to remember customers’ names, but I only understood how important this was when I saw how happy kids were that Santa remembered who they were.
When you need help, ask your support team
I wasn’t just an elf. I was also crowd control and tech support, among other things. But in order to make Santa land believable, Santa couldn’t do it all by himself all the time. The fact that he was not afraid to ask for help made things much easier for everyone.
Listen to your customers…and ask them questions
Some kids would rant off into detail about why they wanted a certain gift for Christmas. Santa listened to them attentively, nodding and making eye contact, and followed up with a question. When he did this, you could see the relief in the children’s eyes, as they immediately know Santa would try to solve their problem.
“Oh you want a doll? Perfect…how about a doll, and an extra dress to dress her up in? Santa always has something else to offer to make the experience extra memorable for his customers.
So, next time you find yourself in a customer service rut, try to ask yourself, “What would Santa do?” It may help.