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How to manage customers over the Christmas break

While the festive season is well and truly here and 2012 is winding down with a string of end of year parties, have you thought about how your business will manage and respond to customers over the holiday period?

With many customers and clients used to having your expertise constantly available all year round and expectations of a prompt response to their queries, you will need to pause and think about how the festive season will affect your business.

Planning how you will manage your customers when your offices are closed or have reduced resources available is time well spent. When developing your plan for out-of-hours management, here are our five top tips to consider:

  1. If you’re operating over Christmas and New Year, while many Australians take extended holidays, make sure you have enough staff in the office to handle enquires. It’s also a good idea to create an “in case of emergency” plan and outline a clear path of escalation to your staff if they need to move the query up the management chain.
  2. For staff members working over the holiday period, ensure they all have the contact information required and the skills needed to deliver a quality level service without additional support. Before you leave for the holiday break, perhaps run a series of mini-training sessions for everyone to be reminded of company procedures and policies.
  3. Notify your customers of changes over the holiday season, such as changes to opening hours as well as details of any reduced staffing levels that could affect the service your customers are used to. How would you communicate this? Social media can be a great way of sharing information like this, in addition to email.
  4. Three heads are better than one and for some situations, staff may need help from a number of people to resolve an issue. Think about how you can communicate with a group of people instantly if needed. Using messaging services like BlackBerry Messenger (BBM™) Groups can ensure that everyone in the group has up-to-date information about any given customer query and can respond quickly and easily.
  5. Lastly, before you head off, make sure your smartphone and tablets are loaded with social media apps. Connect your company account to these two apps and you’ll be able to keep your finger on the pulse of your business even during holiday seasons.

We hope that these tips will allow your business to run smoothly over the holiday period and let you enjoy the festive season and a well-deserved break!

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Matthew Ball

Matthew Ball

Matthew Ball is the managing director of Research In Motion, Australia & New Zealand

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