Here we are again. It’s the holidays. I want to put emphasis on the plural “s” of “holidays” because with so many packed into a two month span, it is hard to keep your sales and customer service staff in the office.
To make staffing even more challenging, this year, all of the end of year holidays fall on a weekday.
- Hanukkah: Wed. 11/27/13 – Thur. 12/5/13
- Thanksgiving: Thur. 11/28/13
- Christmas Eve & Christmas Day: Tue. 12/24/13 – Wed. 12/25/13
- Kwanzaa: Thur. 12/26/13 – Wed. 1/1/14
- New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day: Tue. 12/31/13 – Wed. 1/1/14
This time of year is stressful enough without also worrying about your business’ holiday telephone coverage.
Here is an easy checklist to help you plan ahead:
- Staffing & Overtime: Don’t be caught off guard by overtime costs. Budget accordingly. Arranging for proper telephone coverage during this season of festivities can be difficult and unpopular. The earlier you plan, the better.
- Office Hours: Will your office close on some days? Are there days you may close early? Will this be true of your vendors as well and will that create problems for you?
- Additional Traffic: These will be some of the most heavily traveled days of the year. Are you in a business that will be impacted by injuries and property damage from traffic accidents and get heavier than normal call volume? Will flight delays and slow deliveries increase calls or impact your ability to service clients?
- Post-Holiday Rush: Don’t get caught unprepared for a potential surge in calls after each seasonal event is over. Customers will be back and dealing with a backlog of needs and problems.
- Changes in Call Handling Procedures: Will the absence of some of your staff members mean that call handling procedures may need to change temporarily? Will different people have to be on-call for emergencies due to some departments being closed or short-staffed?
No Stress Guarantee?
Knowing the answers for ever question in this list cannot guarantee a stress free holiday season, but it will ensure your staff and customers that you are prepared and looking out for their best interests.
Your competitors may not be so prepared. When they drop the ball and come up short with their holiday telephone coverage, new business will head your way. Now that is a special gift you’ve asked for all year!
This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.