Yes, winter might still be a fair distance away, the embers of summer still have some way to go after all, but it’s time to talk about…Christmas! In the world of uniform, we have to be thinking one, two, three steps ahead of the curve, so planning for the festive season tends to begin earlier and earlier each year.
Dimensions’ customers consist of a range of high-profile brands from around the world, and while their typical garments are shirts, suits, trousers and everything else you’d expect from a traditional corporate uniform, when Christmas comes along it can often throw in a few more unusual items.
In the past, customers have requested all kinds of festive-themed spins on the traditional garments, from lanyards to aprons, and Christmas jumpers to hats! Through the garments Dimensions has supplied, it got the team thinking back to the original Christmas uniforms, and how the designs and themes used throughout could influence modern-day, starting with the big one, Father Christmas himself.
The iconic red suit, with a white fur trim was created not by the annual favourite ‘Coca-Cola’ Christmas advertisement, but dates back, instead, to 1869 and cartoonist Thomas Nast’s depiction, as part of his illustration for a poem, ‘Santa and His Works’. Originally, Santa Claus was drawn as a small man who could easily slide down chimneys, before becoming the cuddly size we know today a bit later down the line. It was Mr Nast who changed Santa from his original brown-tan colour to red, and then even green – which contributed to the colour becoming associated with the festive season.
Alongside Santa’s suit, you’ve got your classic nativity costumes, the most famous of which, is arguably, that of the angel. The almost saintly nature of angels, and we’re talking traditional here, with wings, halo and white garment to match, mean that white and gold also become a part of the festive colour palette.
So, those are the traditional uniforms associated with Christmas, but how does that translate to a corporate environment? First things first, the colours of red, green, white and gold conjure memories of Christmas’ gone by, and can evoke a number of the positive feelings that many associate with the festive season.
That last part, in particular, may well prove to be important during Christmas, in workplaces that are customer facing. Customer expectations are often sky-high, especially in the retail environment. Data reports show that in 2015, negative reviews increased over the Christmas season, equating to 12% of all reviews given during December. This figure had risen from the previous month, demonstrating how retailers were falling short of their customer expectations over Christmas.
The most common reason for a one star review was ‘customer service’ which 47.5% of consumers cited as the most important factor to them over the festive period. While the Christmas period holds huge opportunity for retailers and consumer-facing businesses to significantly increase revenue, the facts above make it clear just how important maintaining good customer service is to enjoy the benefits of increased sales.
Good customer service can originate from various different sources, one of which is a strong uniform. The relationship between looking good and giving great customer service with the host of benefits including:
- Developing a co-ordinated uniform can boost self-esteem, which contributes to improving attitude and productivity. Consequently, the customer service given is of a higher quality.
- When staff wear a uniform, it portrays a united brand image, which indicates to customers that they will receive a consistently good service level from all employees, no matter who they are served by.
- Looking good and feeling like part of a team also creates a united workforce with a combined sense of responsibility. It encourages colleagues to work professionally together in order to achieve established company targets. This inspires staff to perform better as they feel more appreciated as being part of a team and when staff feel appreciated, engagement is higher.
So, when it comes to creating a feel-good Christmas spirit and giving a customer a shopping experience that they’ll want to remember, the festive season is the perfect time to add some sparkle to your uniform!