The holidays are a beautiful time of joy, family time, and relaxation. Well… for about 10% of us.
For more than half of us, the holidays are a breeding ground for stress. It shouldn’t be that way, but here we are.
According to a study, there are three main culprits for holiday stress:
- Lack of money
- Lack of time
- The general focus on commercialism and spending money
For many fabricators, this is all happening at home and the workplace. Your customers are in a mad rush to get their homes ready for company, and you’re to blame if things don’t go according to plan.
Here’s some advice for handling the holiday countertop rush like a pro.
Practice Benchmarking, or Setting Customer Expectations
Before we get into any Moraware-specific solutions, we have to mention a super simple customer service tip: set expectations. This is also more formally referred to as “benchmarking.”
We all use reference points to evaluate the world around us.
For example, if all your friends eat out every single day, you feel pretty good about cooking three times a week. If all your friends cook at home every single day, you feel like you aren’t making enough home-cooked meals.
The same thing happens in business – if you say you’ll reply to all emails in 24 hours or less, that’s the reference point your customers will measure you against.
“If we don’t provide our customer reference points by setting customer expectations, customers will search out their own reference points,” explains Sarah Chambers, a Customer Support Consultant.
In other words, if you don’t set any expectations at all, your customers will pull from other experiences to set a reference point. Maybe their friends said their countertops were ready in two days. If that’s your customer’s reference point, they’ll hire you the week before Thanksgiving and expect a perfect kitchen by Thanksgiving Eve. Sound familiar?
Be cautious around the holidays. Set clear expectations! Even if you think you can pull it off, make sure your customers are fully aware that they may not have their dream kitchen installed by turkey day.
If you are going to promise that kitchen by the holidays, create a buffer between the install date and the party deadline.
That’ll give you some wiggle room if something horrible happens, like a delayed shipment or a mishap during the fabrication process.
In addition, we know many fabricators who tell customers to place their orders by November 1st or there’s no guarantee of making a Thanksgiving or Christmas deadline. Don’t be afraid of setting boundaries!
Have Cut-Off Dates
Some fabricators won’t engage in the holiday madness at all – they do cut-offs.
For example, you might do a cut-off the first week of December for any customer hoping to have their home ready by Christmas.
For many fabricators, December 23rd is the most stressful day of the year as timelines are rushed and customers are frantic. Again, it’s all about setting expectations. We know fabricators who close their shop at the end of the business day on December 23rd, and they don’t reopen until January 2nd. No matter what.
As long as you set expectations with your customers, it won’t be a problem.
If you don’t bake in a decent buffer, you’ll want to coach your client on all the possibilities, including delays that could set back production and potentially missing their annual Friendsgiving.
Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
Buffer zones and cut-off dates can save you from a season of stress, but they can also save your wallet.
If you promise a finished job by the holidays and something goes wrong, you’re stuck paying your crew overtime or even paying rush fees on materials.
It’s a very important time to get a handle on scheduling, and lucky for you, we have tips to make the most of Systemize, our scheduling software.
Set Holidays on Your Calendar
Don’t make the mistake of scheduling activities on a holiday without realizing it.
Holidays need to be created in Systemize every year, and you can make any day a holiday!
Thanksgiving and Christmas are obvious, but if your entire staff plans to stay home on any other day, make it a holiday. That way, everyone in your office knows that activities should not be scheduled on that day. Auto-schedule will also skip that day, saving you even more time and potential headaches.
💡Read More: How to Set Holidays On the Calendar
Show Staff Vacation Days On the Calendar
Don’t make the mistake of scheduling an activity when that staff member won’t be at work!
This is easy to do in Systemize – simply create an appointment for the staff member, fill out the vacation information, and you’re good to go.
💡Read More: How to Show Vacation Days
Having an organized scheduling system allows for clear communication with your customers and a good workflow that prevents any disruptions for their new countertop. Keeping an open line of communication with your customer ensures their happiness, and if their party is a success, they’re going to love you forever!
The holidays are the perfect opportunity to get more out of Moraware. If you haven’t seen how Systemize can help your shop get better at scheduling, book some time with our helpful team.