Happy holidays! Over the next six weeks, the UK will get to enjoy the Easter break and two May bank holidays, so many of us will be cheering in four-day workweeks. What a luxury!
Well, not entirely. Time off is a luxury enjoyed by people who don’t own or work in a small business. Those who are involved in an SME don’t just face the prospect of squeezing five days of work into four days – they must also worry about keeping the business operational should customers want to get in touch.
Maintaining an “always-on” presence and delivering great customer service can be a real challenge for SMEs during the holiday period. So here are four tips for SMEs on how to stay connected and keep customers happy (but also enjoy the holidays).
1) Don’t leave yourself (or your colleagues) desk-bound; make sure you’ve mobilised yourselves.
Set up your work email on your smartphone so you can quickly respond to customer emails, and remember to set up call forwarding to redirect your work line to your mobile. The RingCentral cloud telephone solution enables employees to seamlessly switch between landline and mobile all from one number and user profile, so they’re not tied to their desks.
Plus, RingCentral will automatically route voicemails to your email, so messages can receive a quick response. (A thought for next time, if you don’t have this solution already in place!).
2) Nominate staff to be on call for particular periods of the bank holiday.
If you have call queues (a.k.a. departments) configured in your business phone system, set everything up to route calls to staff who are available (or to re-route calls if the first user doesn’t pick up). This will ensure someone is always available to pick up a customer call and deliver a great customer service.
3) Set up a special ‘company greeting’.
If a customer calls in, let them know that it even though it’s the holidays, someone is there to help them. Record a custom company greeting that includes an emergency contact number – or explicitly note that calls will be routed to someone who can help callers out.
4) Keep your employees happy.
If your staff are working over the holidays, make sure they have the equipment and facilities to do the job at home or on the move, so they don’t have to sit in the office during the break. Give them a laptop if they don’t have one and make sure they have access to the internet at home, and more importantly, access to your office systems, so they can easily access documents if necessary.
And if you don’t already have a cloud-based phone system in place, consider adopting one for the next holiday season. RingCentral’s Office system offers cloud storage integration so employees can send documents from Box, Dropbox and Google Drive. It even includes Salesforce CRM integration, so employees will be able to keep customer records up to date.
In summary: Connect to your systems, re-route operations to you and go mobile. Enjoy the holidays!
(Ed. note – RingCentral’s Silicon Valley and Denver offices don’t get any time off until Memorial Day, but we may follow these tips and enjoy some of the UK’s “bank holidays” ourselves.)