The holiday season can be one of the happiest times of the year, but it can also be one of the most chaotic for businesses of all sizes. For small businesses, maintaining a constant line of communication throughout the season can be challenging; no one wants to be overwhelmed by holiday spam, but vacation schedules often leave large gaps in the lines of communication between you, your employees and your customers. On top of that, you may have the added stress of trying to secure next year’s contracts in addition to the ongoing work.
Ensure that clients know you’re thinking of them this holiday season – and make sure they’re thinking of you, too – by following a few of our holiday communication tips.
1. Establish Communication Adjustments
It’s only natural to want to keep as up-to-date as possible with your customers, but during the holidays, everyone’s schedules tend to change. From the start of the holiday season, it’s important to establish a clear schedule for how your clients would prefer to communicate. Will they have a set of days where they’ll be on vacation and won’t be able to access their office phone? Will schedule changes interfere with your weekly check-in call, or complicate your production schedule? Anticipating everyone’s changing availability and establishing the best points and times of contact before the holiday season will take just a bit more stress off of both you and your clients, and ensure projects stay on schedule despite the holiday hoopla.
2. Plan for Chaos & Prepare for Flexibility
No matter your business, the holiday season requires a strong line of communication not only between you and your clients but also between you and your employees. To ensure that you’re not left understaffed in your hour of need – and that you’re not interrupting your staff’s well-earned time off – look back through the business records of previous years and meet with your staff in order to determine the best course of action on how to divvy up work for the season.
Between their feedback on what struggles they might have had and the business records from the previous year, you can configure a schedule that is much less likely to require last-minute emergency phone calls, to prevent too much work from piling on one person and ensure all of those end-of-year deadlines are met.
3. Clearly (and Concisely) Communicate Need-to-Know Information
There’s a fine line between what your customers and employees need to know about your holiday operations and overwhelming them with so much information that they decide to forgo reading your messages altogether. Before making any official announcements, ask yourself these questions:
- Will your holiday schedule/hours differ from your day-to-day operations? If so, does this affect your customers?
- Are you planning any special sales or promotions that need to go out in a timely manner?
- What tactics or policies in the past led to frustrated customers or overworked employees?
- Which channels are best to reach the widest possible array of clients? Consider updating your voicemail message, email autoresponders, social media channels, or sending a newsletter.
4. Match Customers’ Communication Style
When considering all of these other tips, there is one important thing to remember: customers respond to outreach that fits their behavior. Look into the methods of communication most utilized by the majority of your clientele and put your focus there. Keep in mind, your customers are just as flustered in this busy season as you are, so going the extra mile to accommodate them can really send a strong positive message when it matters most.
Emails are always an excellent jumping-off point, but for the holiday season, exploring other communication avenues, such as interactive social media polls and posts showcasing company holiday traditions, can help you stay connected during a season when lots of people are spending their time online and on the go. At the end of the day though, never underestimate the power of a simple phone call – especially during the holiday season, when everyone is attuned to the personal touches!
While it’s important that your customers keep you in mind for the coming new year, we also know how important it is to show clients and employees how much they mean to you and your company. So, make your communications list, check it twice and give your communication strategies the supportive boost they need to carry you into 2020.