How to Prepare Your Employees for the Black Friday Customer Experience

Ridiculously low prices, brilliant marketing, and holiday buzz get consumers in the door on Black Friday. Once in the stores, however, customers must fight their way through crowds, risk getting trampled, and race to the items on their shopping lists. Many customers will be disappointed to find that they are too late to grab their desired items because the swifter customers already beat them to the iPad Mini or the 72” flat screen TV. Meanwhile, frontline employees work to keep the shelves neat, field complaints about roughhousing and out-of-stock items, struggle to get price checks, answer questions, and ring customers up. It’s a guaranteed stressful day.  While there’s no balm to remove the stress of Black Friday, I do have 4 tips to help make Black Friday a little less stressful for the frontline employees that help make Black Friday a profitable shopping day.

1. Properly Train Employees to Manage the Event Black Friday is a significant event, not unlike an NBA game or a hip-hop concert. There will be crowds, excitement, chaos, and risks. Employees must be trained on what to do in overcrowding situations, crowd pushing, violence and fire. A detailed staffing plan is a must so that all employees have specific locations fully staffed during the Black Friday event. Additionally, a clear safety plan must be created and rehearsed before the event so that the store is completely prepared for any emergency situations.

2. Complaint Handling – Consumers will complain on Black Friday. Expect this and prepare for it. Employees can defuse angry customers by maintaining eye contact with the complaining customers, apologizing regardless of fault, responding with empathy and demonstrating a sense of urgency. For help with complaint handling, see my post on How to Completely Restore Customer Confidence After a Service Mishap.

3. Communication Strategy – Large crowds and extra noise will virtually mute retail PA systems. Keep your employees communicating by giving all employees radios during the Black Friday event. Communication will be imperative during out-of-stock and emergency situations.

4. Good ol Customer Service – Remember, customers will be just as stressed and aggravated as employees. And also remember that the customers, albeit aggressive and challenging on this day, are still customers. Employees need to be mindful of the power of making eye contact with customers and smiling. Even in the midst of crowds and chaos, the power of connection will go a long way. It is essential to be available to offer assistance to customers and to be responsive to customer needs during this excruciatingly busy time.

Black Friday is a hugely profitable day for most retailers. But it’s a tiring and aggravating day for employees. Minimize the stress on employees by proactively preparing them for the event using these 4 steps.  When you do, both your customers and your employees will have a better Black Friday experience. Good luck!


Was This Helpful?

I’m asking you because my newsletter offers ideas like this all the time. If you’re not yet subscribed, sign up here.


Some posts you might find helpful as you prepare for Black Friday

Managing the Customer Experience for Big Customer Events

Here’s Why You Need to Let Your Employees Cool Down After a Busy Period

Sorry Works! The Bottom-line Benefit of Apologizing to Customers

How to Completely Restore Customer Confidence After Things Go Wrong

Do-it-yourself Training Kits

If You Really Want Customer Feedback, Make It Easy for Customers to Talk to You

A few weeks ago I stopped in a restroom at the Phoenix airport. That’s a lot of information, I know. But, bear with me. On my way out of the restroom, I saw this sign.

How cool is this? The Phoenix airport is using QR Codes to get customers to let them know if restrooms are in need of service. It’s not uncommon to see a sign in a public restroom that asks customers to let a member of the staff know if restrooms need attention, but how many customers actually take the time to find staff and tell them the restrooms need work? Who has that kind of time? How do you even tell a company they need to tidy the potty area?

The Phoenix airport makes it easy for customers to give feedback. All a customer would have to do is hold up their phone and scan the QR Code to let the staff know attention is needed.

The restroom was actually in good shape, but I wanted to test out the service. So, I held my iPhone up to the QR Code and then it automatically opened up a text message. All I had to do was hit “send.” This is really, really cool. (I didn’t actually send the text though.)

How might you use QR Codes to make your customer experience easier for customers? Could a QR Code be used to pull up FAQ? Perhaps to let an employee know a customer needs assistance on aisle 33? QR Codes aren’t just for ads or promotions. Think out of the box to find ways you might use QR Codes to surprise and delight your customers.

Imagine sitting in a local coffee shop that’s nestled in a bookstore, and talking over a latte with Myra about ways to help your employees deliver the best possible customer experience, and ways to help reduce stress on your employees as they deal with difficult customers.

Every week, often literally from a coffee shop, Myra gives you ideas that in one way or another are actionable towards improving your customer experience.

Sign up and join Myra over coffee every week.

Related Post:

How to Get More Responses to those Surveys Nobody Likes to Fill Out

Myra Golden’s Keynote Slides from Edible Arrangements Convention

I had a  ball presenting to the enthusiastic Managers at the Edible Arrangements Annual Convention in Las Vegas last week. I got Goosebumps as managers described what WOW meant to them and I as I discovered that WOW is not buzzword at this company, but truly the culture. I am happy to provide a copy of my slide deck as a reference for my fabulous clients. Enjoy. Share. Learn.


Myra Golden has spent 15 years benchmarking, interviewing and mystery shopping the best service companies in the world and in her keynotes she shares her insights to help her clients improve their own customer experiences. In her inspiring and riveting keynotes, Myra shares specific customer experience design details from the best service companies of our time: Apple,, Starbucks and Disney. Your audience will walk away with 4 powerful deliverables to help them create the best possible customer experience in their own companies. Explore Myra’s keynotes here.


How I Build a Keynote Presentation


What a Myra Golden Training is Like


Ways I Engage My Audiences


Never Be Boring: 5 Ways to Never Be Boring as a Keynote Speaker


Are you a corporate trainer who is looking for customer service training to deliver to your team?