As the Christmas influx of temporary staff approaches, Britain's retailers have been warned to make sure that their temps are well prepared before they hit the shop floor.
According to Investors in People (IIP), some 90,000 temps will join the retail workforce for the festive season. Temps can make a massive contribution to boosting trade at Christmas, IIP says - but many will have little or no retail experience.
Without any preparation in standards of customer service, there is a danger that new staff can undermine rather than strengthen the customer experience - damaging long-term loyalty to the brand instead of helping to bring slow sales to life.
"Customers want accurate and efficient service at all times - but especially when time is short and shoppers are stressed," said IIP Chief Executive, Ruth Spellman.
"Recruiting the temps they need is just the start for retailers - they've got to get them working in the right way to represent the company and drive customer satisfaction."
Turning raw recruits into the seasoned professionals retailers want and customers expect can be a simple matter of a 'Trainstorm' - a whistle-stop tour of company principles, customer service standards and key dos and don'ts, so that new temps are brought up-to-speed within an hour of joining.
This can simply be bolted on to an initial walk round the shop floor to give vital basic preparation before temps become the retailer's 'public face'.
"It sounds like common sense, yet temps often miss out on inductions, particularly when pressure is mounting around the festive season," Ruth Spellman added.
"But simply investing an hour or two with new recruits can be repaid in the way they deal with customers and strengthen brand loyalty as they do so. It doesn't have to be an elaborate process, it just needs a bit of planning to ensure your new staff know how to behave in the way you want them to.
"Temps may be just for Christmas, but they can have a massive effect on your long-term bottom line".