How Retailers Can Mitigate Customer Stress During the Holidays

By Paul Dobbins of Fortegra.

With everything from busy parking lots to long checkout lines, the holiday season can turn from joyful to stressful in a hurry. And sometimes the stress can create some pretty cranky customers.

Luckily, there are a few simple things salespeople can keep in mind to help them navigate the harried holidays—and to diffuse potentially combustible customer situations. 

Forget you’re a salesperson and be a partner.

Just because you’ve got a sales title doesn’t mean you always have to sell. Customers who are stressed want to know you have their best interest in mind first, and not your bottom line. By proving that you’re a consultative partner, you can work with your customer to find the solution that’s best for them. 

Keep your ears open and your mouth shut.

It’s not uncommon to encounter a customer who truly just wants to vent. Maybe they had a bad online experience or they couldn’t find what they were looking for right away. No matter their problem, you need to listen to what they’re saying. The worst thing you can do in a stressful situation like this is to dismiss their complaints. Be open to what they have to say and take everything with a grain of salt. Speaking of… 

Remove your personal feelings.

It’s hard to not take complaints personally, but by eliminating your feelings from the equation, you can relieve a situation of a lot of stress. Even if a customer is complaining about something that directly relates to your performance, it still doesn’t mean they’re complaining about you as a person. Take a deep breath and represent the brand like you know you can. This also makes it a whole lot easier to apologize—even when you don’t think you should. A simple ‘sorry’ can go a long way.

Contributed by Paul Dobbins, National Director of Sales & Account Management for Fortegra Financial Corporation (a Tiptree Financial Inc. company). Fortegra and its subsidiaries comprise a single-source insurance services provider that offers a range of consumer protection options including warranty solutions, credit insurance, and specialty underwriting programs. Delivering multifaceted coverage with an unmatched service experience for both partners and their customers, Fortegra solves immediate, everyday needs, empowering consumers to worry less and Experience More.

Photo Credit: Premier Packaging – Learn More Here. 



  • PJ@KeystoneFinancial
    November 28, 2016

    I like your tip be more a partner not a business owner. In that way we can relate to our customers and cater to what they really need.

  • Citrus Signs
    December 8, 2016

    These are great tips that urge retailers to engage with their unique community. I like the detail about not dismissing their feelings. A sales focus should be humanistic. If you’re looking for more tips, check out our post about how signage can engage the customer process in a similar way: . The article is focused on Orlando-area businesses, but is applicable to any. Thanks!

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