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An uncertain ChristmasOnce again, the Christmas holidays are looming shrouded in uncertainty. With just days to go we are all bracing ourselves for tighter restrictions during the festivities and beyond. We had hoped this season was going to be a clean start, a chance to celebrate, let our hair down and spend time with our loved ones. But instead, we are entangled amid the pandemic, an unforgiving and relentless virus set to disrupt our way of living.
So, whilst we wait businesses still have vital tasks to wrap up before they check out for the holidays.
Here's what to consider:All year long you've been working hard on your marketing and customer services strategy ensuring staff were on hand crafting messages, sending out newsletters and answering questions and queries. Not one stone was left unturned as you homed in your communications constantly updating them to respond to new working practices. Now it's time to go out on a high as we turn our attention to enjoying the festive season.
1. Saying thanks to staffIf you haven't already you may want to take time to thank employees for all their hard work and resilience. As busy business leaders we often forget to express words of encouragement to those who make the company possible. Spend a moment either calling or writing to employees wishing them a safe and enjoyable time over Christmas and the New Year. You'll be surprised how such a simple thought can make staff feel appreciated and excited about returning in 2022.
2. Remote/ hybrid teamsThe work from home "if you can" message is back, so you'll need to know that your staff have all they need to carry out departmental functions especially if you are planning to take time off. Conduct virtual meetings, contact your teams giving them time to ask questions. And always provide them with a route for expediting issues, either directly to yourself or another senior member of the team.
3. Covering those who are sickA high number of people are reaching for lateral flow tests only to discover, they are positive. This is having a major impact on businesses as less staff are available to work over the holidays. Unfortunately, this may mean asking some employees to cut short their plans to cover absences. The pandemic does not bow down to timelines nor does it care we are entering a joyful time. Any staff members who are required to take one for the team be sure to offer them your thanks and perhaps find a suitable trade. Suggestions could include extra paid holiday or monetary gift vouchers as a compromise.
4. Social channelsSocial media is a 24/7 business, this means that whilst you may be taking some much-needed rest your competitors will be online searching to steal clients. You can't halt accounts, but you can communicate your intentions. Think about posting a message including any reduced business hours and importantly when you will be returning to normal. Ideally, you'll want to assign someone in the team to keep a watchful eye on your social media pages even if only to track comments and direct messages. Setting aside 15 mins a day could make a real difference to your business when you return in the new year.
5. Out of officeAlways utilise the out of office function incorporated by your email provider. This is a simple and easy way to let clients know you will be away from the office. If someone is stepping into your shoes be sure to include their name and contact details so your customers know exactly who they should direct their enquiries.
ConclusionSadly, it’s been another turbulent roller-coaster of a year and we aren't out of the woods yet. Not only is the news changing daily but staff shortages are rife in every sector. Everyone is in the same boat meaning clients are being very understanding. However, by taking some extra precautions you can ensure that your business is covered from all angles.
Customer relations have never been so important, so spending time to communicate your Christmas business intentions will see you entering the new year in a positive manner regardless of the current circumstances.