“You’ve ruined my Christmas!”
We’ve all heard it. You can’t be a retailer with 4th quarter traffic without hearing that a few times. The problem is that we often let that statement ruin our own Christmas.
Why do we give it so much weight?
Why do we let one customer ruin our day, ruin our holiday, ruin our year? Chances are we weren’t even the responsible party.
Most often that statement is said when the customer had an unreal expectation of what you could provide. Or maybe your vendor let you down. Or maybe the customer was just bat-sh#t crazy. Or maybe you did make a mistake, but because your steps to rectify the mistake weren’t perfect, you ruined their Christmas.
Why let that get you down?
Unless you’re a real f#@k-up, you probably only hear this once every few years. And you’re a stand-up person, so you made it right to the best of your powers. Yet you can still remember the day that mom screamed at you in front of six other customers. The hairs on the back of your neck go up every time you see a brunette in a fur coat just like hers. It colors your whole perception of the season.
Why don’t we instead focus on the people for whom we made their Christmas?
Go count how many transactions you had between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year. Subtract from that all the ruinous statements. Now multiply the remaining number times ten. That’s how many Christmases you made last year. (Remember that people are in your shop not just for one person, plus, if you made their Christmas, you made the Christmas of those around them.)
Revel in those Christmases you made. Celebrate the Thank You’s. Exalt the I Love You Guys. Dance with the You Made My Day’s.
There are a lot more of those. Give them the weight they deserve. Pat yourself and your staff on the back. You all deserve that.
PS This goes doubly for the staff. They are going to make mistakes. You really can ruin your staff’s Christmas if you don’t handle those mistakes properly. I remind all my staff that I expect them to make mistakes, just not the same one twice, so when they make a mistake, I say to them with a smile, “Good, you got that mistake out of the way. What are we going to learn from it?”