Customer Service Lessons from “Black Friday”

Okay, be honest.  How many of you actually got up several hours before dawn in hopes of getting a good deal the day after Thanksgiving?  It never ceases to amaze me how many people will line up at the door at 3 a.m. in hopes of getting a good deal on a widget they plan to give as a Christmas gift.  Nonetheless, this fact tells me one thing:  individuals will do almost anything to get really good deals.  However, this year, a few new things started popping up.

Black Friday actually ended up being a Black Thanksgiving Weekend.  Instead of all the deals being on one day, retailers expanded the deals so that there was a great buy for every day of Thanksgiving weekend, and not just for those shopping in the stores.  Stores understand the value of customer convenience and made the deals available to those shopping online as well. 

In all actuality, depending on the source, sales were between 9% and 16% higher than the sales in the store.  We’ve all seen this trend in when it comes to online help desks versus call centers.  People would rather look online at their own convenience in their comfy clothes than to be stuck on hold in the middle of the work day or, Heaven forbid, actually drive down somewhere and wait in line for two hours to ask a simple question.
So what’s the point?  People want deals so give them deals.  Granted, there is a bit of novelty and therefore excitement in doing the once per year 3 a.m. Christmas shopping fest at the local retailers but don’t make your customers do that all the time.  You need to offer great deals all year round. 

Also, make sure those deals are extended to your online clientele.  Acknowledge those who assert their independence by choosing to stay in their pajamas and shop from home.  After looking at this year’s numbers, your online customers are the ones who are buying the most so make sure they stay happy. 

Make sure all your customers stay happy, which is what customer service is all about.

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