Tips for being nice to retail employees this holiday season

Although much of the focus around holiday shopping is on door-busting deals and Black Friday madness, retail and customer experience expert Doug Fleener says it’s important for shoppers to remember the retail employees who make it all happen.

Working retail is not an easy job, and with extended holiday hours and huge crowds it becomes even more challenging, according to Fleener, president and managing partner of the retail consulting firm Dynamic Experiences Group.

Fleener said shoppers who are nice to retail workers not only personally benefit, but also share holiday cheer with those who might just need it right at that moment.

“We all know how stressful the holidays can be, but imagine having to deal with thousands of stressed-out customers,” he said. “Be nice to retail associates and they’ll be nice — and helpful — to you.”

Advice: Be polite and thankful

Here are four ways holiday shoppers can be nice to retail employees:

1. Know that most store employees do care. They want you to be happy and have a good experience, but sometimes things happen that are beyond their control.

2. Treat store employees the way you want you or your family members to be treated. Retail associates take it personally when you get upset or dismiss them.

Retail employees are good people who are working to support themselves, work their way through school, or provide for their families — just like you.

3. Be nice. Raising your voice or behaving in a threatening manner is not a good way to persuade someone to help you. You’d be amazed how often this happens during the holidays.

Asking politely stands out, and increases the likelihood of receiving the help you want.

4. Thank a retail associate for keeping local retail and the holiday spirit alive. True, most people now do at least some of their holiday shopping online, but the season wouldn’t be the same without a shopping trip to a local store.

It’s local retail employees who make this possible.

‘Tis the season to be nice

Be nice to retail employees and they’ll be nice to you. They might even be able to find that last Black Friday special you’re looking for, or tell you about a register with no line. ‘Tis the season to be nice to retail workers.

Dynamic Experiences Group, based in Massachusetts, is retail and customer experience consulting firm. Fleener is the former director of retail for Bose Corp., and has also owned and operated his own specialty stores.