The Christmas season is almost upon – and if you run a business you need to think about your telecoms over the festive season, and not leave the planning (like the shopping!) until the last minute.
How do you ensure that as many staff as possible can have time off to enjoy Christmas and New Year with their families, whilst still maintaining customer service?
- You could pay another company to answer all your calls thus giving your teams a well-deserved break. But, does it create the right impression for your company? When the call is taken does it sound like an answering bureau or are they offering a very personalised service that adds value to your company? Can they answer some of the questions posed or is it just a case of taking messages? If it is the latter, how does that actually help? Someone will still have to contact the customer.
- If you are keeping the office open with reduced numbers of staff and there is a problem with the phones or internet do know who the suppliers are and do you have the relevant contact details? Some suppliers offer limited support over the Christmas period – if it is a busy time for you will they be able to support you in the event on an issue? Best to check in advance.
- Do you have a contingency plan especially if you are open on bank holidays? What if you are a pub or shop open on Boxing Day and the broadband fails? It might be worth investing in a 4G router and sim card just in case. Imagine not being able to take card payments on such a busy day.
- What happens when something dramatically changes the expected volume of calls? For example, a home insurance company whose customers suddenly get caught out by unexpected floods. One option is use technologies so staff can work from home over the entire Christmas period, or can step in and work from home should call volumes rise unexpectedly. Modern phones systems and VoIP solutions usually support apps so that staff can have their office extension on their mobile phone. The advantage is that there is no cost of diverting calls and people can activate it as required. It is also probably cheaper and fairer to have people work from home for a few hours than sit alone in the office on a Christmas rota.
After the Christmas is over check your telecoms are right for your business in 2018:
- Test your Customers’ experience by calling your own company – often people’s first experience of dealing with a company is when they call them and unfortunately it is not always good.
- Is the telecoms solution you are using inhibiting the productivity of your staff? Does it allow for expansion or flexible working? Can people reach you when and how they need to? Is your system robust?
- Are you using the right phone numbers to promote your business? Do you only have a mobile number, and no landline? Do you use expensive premium rate numbers?
- When did you last check the costs you are paying for telecoms? 80% of organisations have not checked their bills in the last two years. With wholesale costs falling – many are significantly overpaying.
Finally, if you have hung up any fairy lights in the office be aware that this may affect your wifi signal and slow it down (sorry – we don’t want to be a Scrooge but here are the facts from Ofcom: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-34964847 )
By thinking about your telecoms and making a few plans before everyone leaves for mulled wine and mince pies can really help to give you, and your staff, a stress-free festive season.
About the Author
Dave Millett has over 35 years’ experience in the Telecoms Industry. He has worked in European Director roles for several global companies. He now runs Equinox, a leading independent brokerage and consultancy firm. He works with many companies, charities and other organisations and has helped them achieve savings of up to 80%. He also regularly advises telecom suppliers on improving their products and propositions. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk