5 Holiday Tips to Balance Customer Service with Employee Holiday Schedules

A woman uses a smartphone.
Holiday tips include letting your team work remotely and showing them you appreciate them.

The holiday season is finally here. As a small-business owner, you have the double-edged sword of balancing your employees' need to spend time with their families while ensuring your customers' needs are met. You don't want to be a Grinch, but you can't afford to neglect customers or miss product deliveries.

The best strategy is to set up some holiday policies in advance to keep the season merry for everyone. By complementing these policies with affordable and easily accessible cloud technology, your team can enjoy an especially productive holiday season.

Use these five holiday tips to prepare your employees for a high volume of customers and product requests, while making sure they also have time to celebrate the holidays:

1. Create Flexibility

Start by letting everyone discuss which days they'd like to take off. One employee may celebrate with their family on Christmas Eve, while another may have a tradition of shopping with her mom every Dec. 26. Sit down with your team and have everyone request specific days that are important for them to have off. You may be surprised at how willing the team is to work together and compromise. Then, make sure everyone has access to the holiday calendar so they can double-check when they're on the clock. With today's cloud business tools, employees are able to access calendars anytime and from wherever they happen to be working, so everyone can be on the same page.

2. Offer Remote Work Options

When your customers have questions, they want answers ASAP. Offering remote work options is one way you can accommodate your employees' holiday obligations while ensuring your customers aren't left hanging. For instance, cloud-based mobile technology allows employees to use their business identity to handle customer calls and hide their personal identities, maintaining a consistent business presence when working remotely or on the go. Your employees can work between shopping trips and visiting relatives and your customers will be none the wiser.

3. Provide Easy Access to Your Tools

Working remotely sounds like a great idea until you can't access the software and apps you need to get your work done. Many companies are accessing unified communications tools such as virtual desktops or seamless integration with customer relationship management (CRM) workflows to give them access to the tools they need, even when they're sitting in a ski lodge with fresh powder on their hats.

4. Plan for Regular Check-Ins

Sometimes important meetings can't wait until after the holidays, yet you already told your team lead he could go visit his grandmother and your star associate left early to wrap presents for a family in need. With the array of video conferencing and other cloud collaboration tools now available, you can set up meetings so everyone can dial in, even if they're located in three different time zones.

5. Reward Hard Work

Balance is hard. Your employees want to do a great job, but also have plenty of other obligations demanding their attention. Make sure you take the time to reward them during these busy days. Maybe it's a special treat in the break room or gift cards secretly left in their desk drawers. Be sure to include a handwritten note giving your personal thanks as well.

By proactively preparing for the holiday rush for both your workload and your employees' schedules, you can make sure the next few weeks run smoothly. Start with these holiday tips, a good plan and utilize cloud communications tools to make this season as stress-free and merry as possible.

Considering writing to Santa to ask for a new business communication system? Visit Vonage Business instead.

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