The holidays are right around the corner. They fall one right after the other, and without proper planning, they can wreak havoc with your sales and customer service processes.
This year, almost all of them are going to fall on a weekday.
- Veterans Day: Mon. 11/11/12
- Thanksgiving: Thurs. 11/22/12
- Hanukkah: Sat. 12/8/12-Sun. 12/16/12
- Christmas Eve & Christmas Day: Mon. 12/24/12-Tues. 12/25/12
- Kwanzaa: Wed. 12/26/12
- New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day: Mon. 12/31/12-Tues. 1/1/13
Here is a check-list to help you think through your telephone holiday coverage so you can plan ahead and enjoy the season.
- Office Hours: What days will your office be closed? Are there days you may close earlier than normal? Will this be true of your vendors as well and will that create problems for you?
- Staffing & Overtime: Arranging for proper telephone coverage during this season of festivities can be difficult and unpopular. Worse yet, it can also cost a bundle in over-time. The earlier you plan, the better.
- 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 some departments be closed or short-staffed? Will different people have to be on-call for emergencies?
- Additional Traffic: Depending on the business you are in, you may get heavier than normal call volume. 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? 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.
The next step is to do some quantifying.
- How much telephone traffic could you get?
- When will you be receiving it?
- What resources are available to you – staff members, call routing features, outsourcing, etc.?
There is actually a silver lining to the problems this season will create. Your competitors may drop the ball. If you do a great job of handling your telephone holiday coverage, and they don’t, it could drive new business straight into your arms. The sales opportunities they didn’t answer and the customers they didn’t respond to. Think of it as your special gift!
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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.