If your business is in retail or hospitality, you may expect to get much busier over the festive period. Whereas if you operate a B2B business or a business offering professional services, you may expect things to quieten down.
Either way, you need to make sure your business’s communications processes are primed for whatever’s coming their way.
Find the section that applies to you and find out everything you need to know to get your business telephone system Christmas-ready.
If you’re expecting a seasonal call influx, you will want to consider adding additional lines to your phone system. Whether your business utilises a traditional PBX system or a VoIP solution, it’s important that you’re ready to deal with increased voice traffic.
If you’re utilising a traditional PBX system, you will need to speak to your provider in order to add more lines. Depending on how efficient your provider, this should be achievable in just a few days. If you’re using a VoIP or SIP solution, you can add lines instantly – meaning you can have everything in place to deal with hundreds more calls in a few seconds.
Christmas is a fantastic time to update your IVR scripts. By creating festive messaging, you can make sure each caller enjoys their call to your business. And, don’t forget, happy customers are more likely to make a purchase – which means that, by simply ensuring each caller gets a decent dose of festive cheer, you may increase sales.
If you don’t have the time or skills required to update your messaging yourself, consider hiring a professional. Professional voice actors can create effective Christmas messages for businesses operating in any industry.
Nothing annoys consumers more than being on hold. In fact, the average British consumer will hang up after just under ten minutes of being on hold if they’re not happy with the level of service they are receiving (which is another reason why you need to add those lines!). To avoid losing a customer, it’s imperative that you deliver the best possible on-hold experience. And, at Christmas, that may mean using Christmas hold music to keep callers’ festive spirits high. It’s also worth noting that Christmas music is thought to make consumers buy more.
If your business uses scripts, it may be worth taking the time to make them more festive. Depending on the nature of your business as well as how far you wish to go, this could be anything from inserting a few festive words and phrases (“seasons greetings”, “happy holidays”, “festive felicitations”) to – and we’ve seen this before – writing an entirely new script from Father Christmas’s perspective.
Though the latter is probably a little too much, for those who use them, a good script is essential to delivering a good service and to making sales. And, at Christmas, that means making it nice and festive.
More calls mean more out-of-hours calls. To avoid losing any messages, you need to ensure your inboxes are empty so that you have the capacity to store them. It’s not wise to just delete everything – have a listen to your messages first to ensure you’re not deleting something important or any messages that haven’t been dealt with yet.
If you’re expecting a significant drop in business, it may be cost-effective and practical to shut up shop over the Christmas period. Still, some staff may have lingering tasks they’d like to get completed during the down time. As such, it may be a good idea to provide an option for remote working. A hosted desktop solution allows employees to access their complete desktop from anywhere – making it easy for them to remain productive without physical access to your office.
It’s wise to inform callers of any changes to opening hours and closures with your initial IVR messaging. Use a cheerful, informative message to tell consumers exactly how things are changing so that they have a clear understanding of what they can expect over the festive period. You may want to modify your IVR solution so that callers are taken straight to your answer machine after hearing your initial message. This will prevent you from missing any opportunities that come in over the Christmas break.
If you are keeping your office open over Christmas, but with reduced staff, it’s important that calls are routed to the proper people and devices. This will help you reduce wait times and allow your staff to operate more productively. Moreover, if staff are working from home, or they’d like to receive direct line calls over the holidays, make sure you re-route calls to their preferred device – either their landline or mobile. Rerouting in this way can be done quickly and easily with any modern business telephony solution.
Although good telephone system providers will always keep disruption to an absolute minimum when they make any changes or upgrades to your telephony solution, some disruption is often inevitable. As such, Christmas is an excellent time to upgrade your phone system. Whether you’re looking to move to a VoIP solution or to upgrade your onsite PBX, using the quiet time afforded by Christmas is a great way to properly equip your business for the new year.
You don’t want to miss any opportunities over Christmas. And with less or no staff available to answer calls, you want to make sure your inbox has the capacity to store answer machine messages. As such, it’s a good idea to delete old and irrelevant messages to free up space for new messages.
If you use social media to communicate with customers, it’s important you let them know exactly when you will be available over the Christmas period. Simply create a post detailing your Christmas social media operating hours and adjust your business opening hours on all social networks which provide that functionality.
In order to be as transparent as possible, create automated emails for generic business emails (such as firstname.lastname@example.org). These should highlight your Christmas opening hours and provide alternative contact information where required. It’s also worthwhile reminding staff to set automated responses from their personal email addresses since employees will likely have taken holidays of varying durations.
If you send regular emails to customers, or distribute a newsletter, don’t forget to include your Christmas opening hours and contact information prior to the holidays. If your business provides technical support or is planning on continuing delivering services over the festive break, make sure you let customers know exactly how to reach your teams and how Christmas will affect their service.
Elite Group is the leading business communications provider. We supply a comprehensive range of communications solutions including industry-leading business telephone systems