Your businesses, e-commerce, and websites don’t take vacations. As such, you should prepare your communications ahead to face this issue.
Although we’ve been working hard throughout the year, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be keeping that rhythm all year long. Weekends and holidays are essential for your batteries to recharge and keep up the good work at work…
These end-of-the-year holidays many services will be having customer services and support services reduced due to vacations and downtime. Businesses must prepare for this, leaving some automatization in place, so your webs, social networks, and company don’t stop altogether.
As you may know, some of your customers may need round-the-year-24/7-support, and they can afford your employee’s vacations. But because we all need to rest now and then, here we have some steps you can take to prevent the customer churn, angry users, and the halt of service support.
Communicate with your customers and stakeholders
You know, everyone is on holiday time, so everyone understands that. Make sure you communicate your intentions and planned downtime with your community of customers and stakeholders. The most probable outcome is that they will appreciate it, and thank you for taking the time to let them know. This way, they are not taken off guard when they experience the downsized support and customer service.
It is just a matter of sending a custom email to your most important customers and stakeholders and a massive email to everyone else. Again, they will be thankful.
Of course, we’re counting on that you know who the most important people for your business are.
Have a plan
As a good employer, you must allow your employees to have well-deserved free time, especially holidays. But when this happens, you’ll have a lot of operational gaps. You can’t let your company or website misbehave, function on a lower level, or fail to deliver your business promise. To prevent this, you need a plan—a well-structured, simple, and step-by-step plan to avoid complications and angry birds(customers). You need to know when will be the moment of less workforce on your schedule and have it in mind when you outsource or hire temporary hands.
This plan should consider all management tasks needed around the reduced workforce period and anticipate it. Also, you should identify operations that can’t wait until next year and act on them as soon as possible.
There are a couple of things you can do beforehand and some things you can’t. For the latter, you could consider automatizing all you can.
Social media and email marketing posts are easily handled this way year-round. You should schedule some of the Christmas and New Year’s posts in advance and some of the posterior days.
Set up some auto-reply on your customer support channels, letting them know about the downtime and that you will be returning shortly to answer their questions.
Of course, if your business is about some sort of SaaS, you have much automatization; you just have to prepare some more in advance for downtime.
Hire temporary replacements for essential functions
Suppose you identify some crucial functions that your team couldn’t do beforehand the holidays but must be done during the holidays. In that case, you can consider bringing some temporary helping hands to handle those functions. By temporary, we mean to go to pages like UpWork, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, Freelancer, and some other good places to find good and honest hourly paid work. Of course, if you have the luxury of personally knowing someone that can handle that specific task, so much better for you.
It’s known that some business owners don’t like or are not used to hiring unknown people, and much less to giving them access to their projects and information. Still, this work is usually cheap and honest, and freelancers are eager to make some extra money for the holidays. Hence, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
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Of course, fires can present themselves at any moment, and you have to have a way to communicate with your team. You should be able to handle invoices, e-commerce errors, and communications going wrong with your customers swiftly and with trustworthy people with access to your different platforms.
Because of that, you must establish some emergency comms protocols with your most important team members. That way, if a problem presents, it can be solved without any damage to your business. Or at least, with the minimal amount of it.
Of course, your team doesn’t want to be disturbed during downtime, so you should establish clear expectations of how and when these comms protocols will take place and for which motives. Your employees must know that these protocols should be used for trouble only, which means serious business.
Keep the support running.
Support and customer services are some of the most critical functions of an IT or e-commerce business, just right after sales. For that, you should keep them running. Of course, you have good communication with your customers and stakeholders so that they can expect a decrease in support and customer services. But, for the same reason, you expect your team availability in case of emergency; your customers also expect help from you if they have a crisis on their turf. And it would be best if you gave it to them; it’s what they are paying for. Keep the support running!
Take a (real) break, you and your team.
Your business is your baby, and as so, it’s the most important thing for you, and we understand that; your team also does! For your business to work correctly, your team has to work correctly. For your team to function at their peak, they need their downtime! Especially when everyone else is having it; holidays! Make sure that you give them an honest and well-deserved break so that they can share it with their families and friends. And also, equally important, make sure you take a real vacation. Remember, everything depends on you and your mental and physical state!
Merry Christmas and a thrilling new year for everyone, and thanks for your preference!