Is your phone system ready for Christmas?

As Christmas approaches and your thoughts are of sharing time with your family and enjoying some well-earned rest and merriment, there is one thing not to forget before you switch to holiday mode – your phone system.

December is a busy time for any business; from organising cover over the holiday period to planning for the New Year. Some companies get a higher volume of calls in the run up to Christmas, and others run seasonal campaigns and special offers which can add extra pressure in terms of getting orders out. With all the holiday plans it’s no surprise that companies often forget the phone system.

We’ve put together the following guide to help you get organised:

Get the on-hold messaging right

Rather than a boring “our offices are closed” message during the break, why not spice it up by wishing customers well for the Christmas period and thanking them for their custom over the past year, combined with a festive “on-hold” tune. On-hold messaging is a great way to inform and engage with your callers. Are you running a special Christmas offer? Do your customers know who they can contact in an emergency? Could your customers visit your website and resolve the issue there instead? These are all things that can be put into a professional pre-recorded message.

Use your IVR routing to full advantage

Make sure that you take advantage of the call routing function within your IVR system. Within this function, you have full flexibility to route calls differently based on the time of day, day of the week, and month of the year, service required or even location of call. You can decide to play a different message based on these criteria, and whether to simply collect a voicemail or forward the calls elsewhere to staff working from home.

During the Christmas period this can be extremely important for maintaining optimum service levels. Agreeing with your staff that you can forward incoming calls to their business mobiles means that you’ll still be able to offer the same level of service, but staff can be at home instead of sitting in a deserted office just in case the phone rings. Mobile and desktop applications make answering calls remotely even easier.

Plan ahead to prevent disasters

Your nightmare scenario is that the office is open with reduced numbers of staff and suddenly, out of the blue, there is a problem with the phones or the internet connection. It can ruin your day. Plan don’t panic. It’s a good idea to make sure in advance the staff have the relevant contact details and the support arrangements your telecom suppliers are offering, just in case.

Maintaining customer service whilst ensuring as many of your team members as possible can take time off to be with their family and friends is a balancing act for companies. The great thing about cloud -based phone systems is that simple changes like call diversions, remote working and changes to opening hours can be done in-house.

Whether you’re planning a full Christmas shutdown or operating as usual, with the telecoms taken care of, you’re one step closer to giving your staff and yourself a stress-free festive season!

Now, please pass the mince pies…..