The countdown to Christmas has officially begun!
Throughout the year, many businesses experience busy periods; with the run up to Christmas usually being the busiest times of the year for the majority of industries within the UK.
The holiday season sees an inevitable increase in demand from customers for products and services, not just because of the festivities but also the New Year ahead. Experian reported that last year, UK internet users made 2.8 million visits to retail websites and spent 373 million hours shopping in the run up to the Christmas.
It can be very easy as a business to bury your head in the snow and try to carry on usual. This won’t work!
So, don’t be left out in the cold this Christmas; follow these simple tips and prepare your business for the holiday period.
Don’t think about it, act now
Now is the time to act, if your business is going to be closed or running at a reduced capacity then what do you need to do to prepare for this?
Planning is essential, it helps you to think of all factors that may influence productivity and ensures that resources are used effectively to maintain workflow. Realistic targets can be made and adhered to, rather than promising something that you cannot deliver.
You can plan for the majority of outcomes, but sometimes it is not possible to predict the future. You need to look back and forward, see how busy you were last year and if there are any factors or trends that may influence this. This way you can forecast more accurately.
What happens to your phone lines?
Think about your telephone systems; make sure a professional and informative voicemail is made for the days you are shut. This will reassure callers that their phone call will be returned, and it can also direct them to another channel where their query could be answered (for example FAQs on a website or an email address that is being monitored).
If you have a business phone number, think about the extra call handling services you have available and how these could be utilised to their full potential. If you are going to be working from home, or you just don’t want to miss any important business calls, diverts can be set up forwarding calls through to your home phone or mobile.
You can also set specific opening times for each day, and vary the settings for different parts of the day. So, if you wanted to work in the morning of Christmas Eve from home, you could choose for calls to be routed through to your mobile and then from, 12pm onwards, diverted through to your call answering service.
It is not nice to think about this, but what if your phone line went down? Check to see if you have any disaster recovery abilities in place, this will direct your calls through to another location in a matter of seconds, helping to make sure no calls are missed.
Keep staff merry
With time off looming and workloads looking impractical due to December only being a three week working month, employees can go into holiday mode. It is vital you keep them motivated during this period to maintain productivity and an enjoyable working environment.
Don’t ignore the festivities, use this as a source of inspiration and incorporate fun activities within the day to day activities. This breaks up the working day and makes the office more of a welcoming place.
Don’t forget about the New Year
2014 may seem far off but it will be here before you know it. Make sure you know what you need to achieve when you’re back in the office and set yourself a list of actions; also, instead of dealing with everything at once – prioritise. You will feel as if you have accomplished something when you complete a task and can cross it off the list.
Last but not least, don’t forget to turn on your out of office’, informing all who email you of your business’s opening hours and that you are not in fact ignoring their email!
These tips should help to take the stress out of Christmas for businesses, and help all involved feel like they are not rushed off their feet.
If you have any other top tips you follow or want to share please do let us know.