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Photo Credit: Tiffany & Co. For editorial use only

As usual, last Sunday’s New York Times featured the Tiffany & Company advertisement regularly found at the top of page 3. This time the  image was of the multi-heart Return to Tiffany (RTT)  bracelet. Seeing as it’s January, I wasn’t sure if someone in Tiffany’s advertising department might have a sense of humor. This particular bracelet, with all those little RTT hearts, and the timing of the ad made me think of all the post-holiday customers “returning” their unwanted presents to Tiffany. Though it’s hard to imagine someone wanting to return a Tiffany gift, it does happen. During my tenure there, we were especially concerned at this time of year about keeping up sales associates’ spirits while ensuring customers still received exceptional service.

Handling a multitude of returns following the holidays can threaten to turn even the best sales associate into a Grinch. Below are some tips to help you avoid the “January Return Blues.”

  • There’s a customer in front of you!
    Here’s your chance to distinguish yourself through your grace and elegance, and ensure the customer remembers you above all the other sales associates they’ve seen today. Being warm and welcoming when handing returns shows how much you value your customers. That in turn, will keep them coming back.
  • You now know what the customer doesn’t like!
    What a great opportunity you have to explore what your customer didn’t like about the gift and what they might fancy even more. Offer some suggestions on items that might they might find more appealing.
  • Suggest ways to make sure it doesn’t happen again!
    Offer options for sharing their “wish list” with a friend or loved one to ensure they receive the perfect gift next time.

If you keep in mind that every return presents an opportunity for you to connect with a customer, you can turn January into your favorite time of year.