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THE MORNING BUZZ: The Christmas Rush is Your Chance to Win New Customers

20 Dec, 2001 By: Kurt Indvik

If you are in the retail side of this business, I assume you are readying yourself for what is one of the busiest weeks of the year for home video retailers; the week of the Christmas holiday. Kids are off school, extended family arrives and stays (…and stays), demand for home entertainment increases. It's a very busy time for the rental business and, certainly with DVD's banner year, there's an expectation that all those shiny new DVD players under the tree will also bring a post-holiday rush to stock up on a few more DVDs.

Next week also brings an interesting and eclectic slate of new releases, including Moulin Rouge, The Princess Diaries and Evolution—something for everyone. Theatrically, Lord of the Rings will be hitting its box office stride big time and is likely to push consumers in to the video store for similar fare such as Willow, The Mists of Avalon, The Dark Crystal and other fantasy films.

Right now is a good time for store owners and managers to gather employees together (if you haven't already), gird them for the coming onslaught and turn this customer service challenge into an opportunity. Dare I say your situation is much akin to many places of worship during this time of year that see the occasional worshiper attend Christmas Eve services (and encourage them to return after the holidays). So, too, is this an opportunity for video retailers to make an impression on their greatest concentration of customers (some more occasional than others) in the shortest time.

Holidays, enjoyable as they are, are stressful times. Customers don't want to encounter any more stress in conducting their day-to-day activities (like renting a video) and even seek a little refuge in escaping the household full of guests to attend to some basic needs (like renting a video).

Your employees need to be extra sensitive to customers, responsive to their questions, quicker than normal on moving returned movies back to the shelves (to avoid the innumerable requests for, "Have you got any [name your movie] back there?"), and remember to take the word "no" out of their vocabulary and replace it with "let me see if there is anything I can do." And like anyone else "on stage" trying to please an audience, smile. A lot. Even at that momentarily holiday-frazzled customer who's abrupt with you. Treat ‘em nice and they'll come back later, after the craziness and in a better mood, remembering that in your store, at least, they found a little Christmas spirit.

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