With a combination of Bank Holidays, the approach of the school summer break and the lovely weather, it’s now the season where you begin juggling resources within your businesses to fill in gaps for absent staff members.
The challenge is to ensure that all on the front line is covered to ensure customer service remains at a high standard. In addition, businesses need to make provisions to ensure that new opportunities are not missed.
A big part of the process is communications that come into the business, i.e. emails, web enquiries and telephone calls. How can you manage these communications when staff members are absent?
1 Out of Office Email Messages – You must make sure that staff members who are absent for any length of time have an ‘out of office’ message set up on their email account. This message needs to contain details of how long they will be out of the office and good practice is to add a date for when they will return. Too many ‘out of office’ messages are generic ‘I am now out of the office, please call….’ Those communicating with your business need guidance on who they need to contact directly to action their enquiry. Also, if staff add a date to their out of office email to let those contacting them know when they will be returning, it sets an expectation, i.e. if their enquiry is urgent, they know to persist and try to contact a colleague, but if it’s not urgent, they then know when to expect a response. We would recommend the promotion of an ‘out of office’ template message to ensure that everyone follows a procedure for setting up their ‘out of office’ email message.
2 Web / Social Media Enquiries – Whilst many businesses will have their experts or key team members who are responsible to managing web enquiries and those that come via social media, it is important to make sure that you have a few more staff members with a little knowledge to help in their absence. Consistency is everything and in today’s 24hour society those contacting you via the web or social media will expect a swift response. As with email, you can place standard messages onto social media that are triggered when people send messages, but these must have a strong ‘call to action’. Remember, those contacting your business using these formats will have the same tolerance as they would if their telephone call was answered by voicemail, i.e. they may try your competitor if there enquiry is not followed up quickly.
3 Answering the Telephones – The ringing telephone needs to be answered and callers need to be greeted in a positive consistent way to maintain the professionalism of the business. If those staff who are responsible for telephone answering within your business are absent, who takes over? Do you have a back-up plan?
Message Takers, as a telephone answering service can provide you with the perfect back-up plan. Our services for a year cost very little in comparison to hiring a temp to cover absence. To set up our service is very simple and we can cover more than just your telephones if needed. Do call us today on 01858 439000 for further details.