The holidays are a stressful time of year, especially if you have to run around doing last minute gift buying.  C3/CustomerContactChannels recently offered great tips for reducing holiday shopping stress.  These tips were picked up by publications around the country, proving that holiday shopping stresses out more than just Floridians!

Here are their secrets:

Do your homework and ask questions.  Learn the store’s return and exchange policies before you buy something; know which coupons a store will accept and ask about promotional deals before you get to payment.  Read product reviews to maximize the valuable time you have with a busy employee.

Be prepared. Lines may be a mile long, so be courteous to other shoppers.  The cash register is not the place to realize you don’t have your wallet.  If you’re buying over the phone, be prepared with the recipient’s shipping information and your payment details.

Communicate clearly. If you have a problem or complaint, get to the root of the situation immediately and state what went wrong without raising your voice.  Tell a salesperson what you expect to be resolved and what you’d like them to do.  Bring up your brand loyalty as appropriate, but don’t overstate your store experience.

Be solution oriented. Focus on what can be done to resolve a situation.  If a product is out of stock, find out when the store will receive new inventory.  Find productive solutions and recognize that the ideal resolution may not be possible in all cases.  Customer service is a two-way street.

Take a deep breath. Take a moment to think clearly before you escalate a situation. Don’t use profanity at other shoppers or customer service agents.  Be the type of person you would want your grandma to speak with – anger and frustration will get you nowhere.

For more of C3′s shopping tips, click here.