During the festive period, it’s common to want to take a little time away from the office to enjoy the holidays. Unfortunately for most SME leaders, this is rarely possible — around 472,000 small businesses will be working throughout Christmas without a single day off.
These shocking statistics indicate that a solution is needed — and organisational apps that promote remote working could be the answer.
Surely, it can only be a positive thing that sales enjoy a hike in the winter months. Small businesses can make the majority of their profits in just two of the twelve months in the year. Leaders should capitalise on the huge potential of Christmas gift buying, with the typical household spending an extra £500 in the month of December.
But people’s willingness to pay for items and services in December and the surrounding months pushes business operations to their limits. So how can virtual applications relieve this pressure and maximise sales potential?
Covering Your Communications
The most obvious reason to use a virtual business answering service is to cover your communications over Christmas. Despite the trend of online shopping, customers still find it imperative to have access to adequate customer support. Even today, voice interaction is superior to email, chatbots or any other newfound form of communication. Harvard Business Review supports this in its report on the matter, which highlights various studies that emphasise the importance of mobile calls during a buyer’s journey.
Having the ability to to speak directly with a customer care team is especially important if a customer is distressed or contacting the company about a complicated procedure, such as a return or express delivery — which are all too common scenarios when buying presents. The difference when using a call management application is that you or your employees don’t have to be sitting in a call centre or office during the Christmas break. This way, you can handle customer calls remotely from various mobile devices while still receiving the incoming query from your official business number.
Virtual assistance takes the pressure off of being available for more mundane calls and tasks, and takes care of the frequently asked questions that your customers are guaranteed to have. A virtual receptionist will keep regulated questions on a tab, meaning they are able to provide useful information to your callers when you’re too busy to take the call — or you’re simply away enjoying some well-earned time off.
For example, if you you get asked questions all the time about your returns policy, sizing guides or the locations that you can cover, give this information to a virtual receptionist for safe keeping. These bite-sized bits of info can be read out on your phone menu to eliminate customer calls that can be easily solved with a sentence or two. It’s also common to refer customers to your website, where this information is conveniently hosted on a dedicated webpage.
This is a win-win situation for everyone — the FAQ caller gets their answer quickly, the customer with a complicated query doesn’t have to wait in a long queue of callers, and your workload is reduced, all without you or your employees needing to repeat themselves.
Sharing a Schedule
One of the biggest benefits of a virtual assistant app is the ability to share your workload through a schedule that can be accessed by the entire team. This is why more businesses are opting for digital tools instead of jotting tasks down using a pen and paper. In an application, everything can be instantly updated and is accessible in a clear format for the entire workforce to understand. There can be no bust-ups in communication or mixed messages if everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet (or, rather, working from the same document).
The typical Christmas team can be likened to Santa and his elves, where the entire team works together to achieve the biggest output of the year. For a smooth operation, you can choose applications that allow you to schedule your communications and highlight when you won’t be available to work. This approach ensures that there is always somebody on call to cover the post and that the allocation of hours is fair across the board.
The festive season is probably the most competitive time of the year. The Guardian has named Christmas the season of “competitive gloating”, with the average UK consumer set to spend £567, on average, this year. This means businesses need to tighten up their images and offer better products, services and experiences than others in their fields.
Professionally recording a phone greeting and a comprehensive phone menu standardises customer care calls so that you always leave a positive and lasting impression on your caller. Branding messages may exist in huge advertising campaigns, such as Nike’s famous slogan, “Just Do It”, but they should also come across in your everyday communications to ensure total professionalism and personality. A virtual assistant app enhances your brand image with an easy-to-use menu, a professional business number (especially if it’s location specific) and a tight schedule, so that your business is never caught out.