PFM 20 9 - Page 12

Are Your Telecoms Ready for Christmas?
By Dave Millett, Equinox
he Christmas season is almost
upon – and if you run a business you need to think about
your telecoms over the festive season, and not leave the planning (like
the shopping!) until the last minute.
not being able to take card
payments on such a busy day.
4) Scheduling how many staff you
need can require good forecasting of the number of expected calls. However, what
happens when something dramatically changes the volume
of calls? For example, a home
insurance company whose
customers suddenly get
caught out by unexpected
floods. One option is use
technologies so staff can work
from home over the entire
Christmas period, or can step
in and work from home should
call volumes rise unexpectedly. Modern phones systems
and VoIP solutions usually
support apps so that staff can
have their office extension on
their mobile phone. The advantage is that there is no cost
of diverting calls and people
can activate it as required. It is
also probably cheaper and fairer to have people work from
home for a few hours than sit
alone in the office on a Christmas rota.
One of the main balancing acts is ensuring that as many staff as possible
can have time off to enjoy Christmas
and New Year with their families, whilst
still maintaining customer service. In
this 24 hour/365 day economy it is becoming harder and harder simply to
close for the break.
So, what are your options – how can
you prepare for the festive season?
1) You could pay another compa-
ny to answer all your calls thus
giving your teams a well-deserved break. But, does it create the right impression for
your company? When the call
is taken does it sound like an
answering bureau or are they
offering a very personalised
service that adds value to your
company? Can they answer
some of the questions posed
or is it just a case of taking
messages? If it is the latter,
After the Christmas is over it is also
how does that actually help?
worth thinking about some new year
Someone will still have to con- resolutions for your business:
tact the customer.
Test your Customers’ experience by calling your
2) If you are keeping the office
own company – often peoopen with reduced numbers of
ple’s first experience of
staff and there is a problem
dealing with a company is
with the phones or internet do
when they call them and
know who the suppliers are
unfortunately it is not aland do you have the relevant
ways good.
contact details? Some suppliers offer limited support over
Is the telecoms solution
the Christmas period – if it is a
you are using inhibiting the
busy time for you will they be
productivity of your staff?
able to support you in the
Does it allow for expansion
event on an issue? Best to
or flexible working? Can
check in advance.
people reach you when
and how they need to? Is
your system robust?
3) Do you have a contingency
plan especially if you are open
on bank holidays? What if you
are a pub or shop open on
Boxing Day and the broadband fails? It might be worth
investing in a 4G router and
sim card just in case. Imagine
Are you using the right
phone numbers to promote
your business? Are your
numbers enhancing your
image or detracting from
it? Do you only have a mo-
Dave Millett
bile number, and no landline? Making it expensive
for them to call you, for example with a premium rate
number - may mean that
potential customers don’t
make that call at all.
When did you last check
the costs you are paying
for telecoms? 80% of organisations have not
checked their bills in the
last two years. With
wholesale costs falling –
many are significantly overpaying.
Finally, if you have hung up any fairy
lights in the office be aware that this
may affect your wifi signal and slow it
down (sorry – we don’t want to be a
Scrooge but here are the facts from
Ofcom: )
By thinking about your telecoms and
making a few plans before everyone
leaves for mulled wine and mince pies
can really help to give you, and your
staff, a stress-free festive season.
Reader Reply: 209014


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