Once again, the holidays are here, and it’s time to get everything ready for the end of the year. Whether your company celebrates Christmas or gets busier in November and December, don’t forget to update your VoIP phone system to accommodate the holiday hours that you will be available during the holiday season.
No, we’re not suggesting that you decorate your phone with lights, ornaments, and tinsel. If you do, that’s entirely your choice, and we won’t judge. Beyond decorations, make sure that your phone system can handle the increase in calls and inquiries this time of year. You never want to miss a call any time of the year. So be sure your phone system is set up correctly so that your customers know how to contact you and when you will be open or closed over the holidays.
Your holiday hours will depend on what type of business you have. A doctor’s office or clinic will likely have reduced hours. But a retail business is more likely to have extended hours through Christmas Eve. In both cases, it’s important to let customers know when you will and will not be open.
Don’t wait until the last minute to set up your business phone system for the holiday season. Do some advanced planning, and work with your staff so that your business staff can enjoy a stress-free holiday season.
Determine what your holiday hours will be leading up to Christmas and the week between Christmas and New Year. Some companies have increased hours, while others have reduced hours. Some companies close entirely until after the New Year.
Once you’ve determined your holiday hours and other information into your VoIP and system, it’s time to update.
- Set up your call queue with new holiday on-hold music and estimated wait times for busier periods. Add recorded messages with holiday information and an alternate way to contact support, such as your website, an email address, or a service hotline. Reconfigure your system to accommodate shorter business hours and set up call forwarding to handle calls during the reduced hours.
- For closed periods, add automated messages and announcements to notify your customers that you will be closed during the holiday season and what day you will reopen.
- To remind callers of your holiday hours, update the receptionist’s greetings. Call forwards can be set up for employees who plan to work remotely.
Add seasonal music to your system and customize your greetings accordingly to wish them a happy holiday season. Update your auto-attendant messaging to include announcements about holiday promotions or coming-soon sales. Make sure to mention your holiday hours so that your customers know when you’re available.
You can set up custom schedules for the holiday season and customize how your company calls are answered and handled. And when the holidays are over, everything can return to the standard greetings, messaging, and schedules.
Scaling Up for the Holidays
If you anticipate hiring temporary employees for the holiday season, you may need additional phone extensions for them. Fortunately, it’s easy to do in VoIP. Add new lines when needed, and scale back down after the holidays.
Auto-expanding lines mean that our system will allocate additional lines for your company during peak periods. That translates to no busy signals during the holiday rush.
Increases in calls during the holidays may not only be due to increases in inquiries or orders. They could also be related to customer service issues or product returns. One way to handle this increase is to use call recording. You can keep a record of these conversations to review later to help your customers and work with them more effectively.
Individual Voicemail Messages
Employees taking a vacation this time of year can let customers know that they will be unavailable. An email autoresponder and a voicemail message on their office number can notify customers quickly and easily.
It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, just informative:
“Hi, this is Tamara. I’ll be out of the office from December 27th. Through December 31st, returning on January 4th. If you need to speak with someone, please contact my colleague John at extension 6442 or my assistant Jane at extension 8521. Happy Holidays!”
This way, anyone who calls will immediately understand that someone is not available, but they can get help from someone else.
Employees who work remotely during the holidays can leave a similar message. They can also use a softphone to use their office phone number.
Utilize Call Forwarding & Time Routing
Call forwarding ensures that your phones get answered during the holiday season no matter where your employees are. You can forward your phone to any number in your system or an external number. Calls can be forwarded 24/7 or just during regular working hours, with an auto-attendant message and voice mail outside of those hours.
You can also configure your system to ring phones in a specific sequence instead of going directly to voice mail, such as a different desk phone, a coworker’s phone, or even a cell phone. Call forwarding can ensure that remote employees will also receive their customer calls. You can also have your system set up to revert back to regular hours at a certain date so you don’t have to worry about remembering to do that yourself. This is called Time Routing and an easy-to-use tool in most VoIP phone systems.
Because VoIP is so versatile and flexible, it’s easy to configure to handle the increased or reduced calls during the holidays while still keeping in touch with your customers.
Contact Press 8 Telecom today to talk about upgrading your phone system to a new, flexible VoIP system that is just what your business needs for less money than a traditional hosted PBX system. We’ll give you a free quote on the system that’s just right for your company.