One of the main balancing acts is ensuring that as many staff as possible can have time off to enjoy Christmas and New Year with their families, whilst still maintain customer service. In this 24 hour/ 365 day economy it is becoming harder and harder simply to close for the break.
So what are your options?
Dave Millett of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox has some advice on how to prepare your telecoms for the festive season:
- You could pay another company to answer all your calls thus giving your teams a well-deserved break. But, does it create the right impression for your company? When the call is taken does it sound like an answering bureau or are they offering a very personalised service that adds value to your company? Can they answer some of the questions posed or is it just a case of taking messages? If it is the latter how does that actually help as someone will still have to contact the customer.
- If you are keeping the office open with reduced numbers of staff and there is a problem with the phones or internet do know who the suppliers are and do you have the relevant contact details.
- Scheduling how many staff you need can require good forecasting of the number of expected calls. However, what happens when something dramatically changes the volume of calls? One option is use technologies so staff can work from home over the entire Christmas period, or can step in and work from home should call volumes rise unexpectedly. Modern phones systems and VoIP solutions usually support apps so that staff can have their office extension on their mobile phone. The advantage is that there is no cost of diverting calls and people can activate it as required. It is also probably cheaper and fairer to have people work from home for a few hours than sit alone in the office on a Christmas rota.
After the Christmas is over it is also worth thinking about some new year resolutions for your business:
- Test your Customers’ experience by calling your own company – often people’s first experience of dealing with a company is when they call them and unfortunately it is not always good.
- Is the telecoms solution you are using inhibiting the productivity of your staff? Does it allow for expansion or flexible working? Can people reach you when and how they need to? Is your system robust?
- Are you using the right phone numbers to promote your business? Are your numbers enhancing your image or detracting from it? Do you only have a mobile number, and no landline? Making it expensive for them to call you, for example with a premium rate number, may mean that potential customers don’t make that call at all.
- When did you last check the costs you are paying for telecoms? 80% of organisations have not checked their bills in the last two years. With wholesale costs falling – many are significantly overpaying.
Finally, if you have hung up any fairy lights in the office be aware that this may affect your wifi signal and slow it down (sorry – we don’t want to be a Scrooge but here are the facts from Ofcom: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34964847 )
By thinking about your telecoms and making a few plans before everyone leaves for mulled wine and mince pies can really help to give you, and your staff, a stress-free festive season.