Ah, the holidays. That wonderful time of year when families gather ‘round the fireplace to drink a little eggnog, trim the tree, and experience the joy of being together.
For most of us, the holidays are also a very hectic time of year. Especially the 12 days leading up to Christmas. And that’s true even if you don’t happen to celebrate Christmas, because it still sets a very short deadline for getting business done since most of the business world seems to come to a stop from December 25 until around January 3.
How do you reconcile the high-pressure needs of your small business with your family’s desire to roast chestnuts on the open fire? Having a virtual phone service can help. Toward that end, we offer up these 12 small business phone tips ‘til Christmas. Hope they help make your season a little brighter.
1. Pre-record a message and make it an option on your phone system’s virtual receptionist. It’s great for businesses with a small staff and different hours during the holidays.
2. Use an extension to tie to ads and/or direct mail/email promotions. Encourage customers to call a specific extension you set up to promote the door buster of the day.
3. Give Santa an extension. Let kids call to listen to Santa directly at the North Pole. This will work even better if you have an 800 number through your virtual phone service provider.
4. Instead of having personnel on the phone when they could be helping live customers, set up your phone system to post updates on current inventory levels of hot items. Add the date and time so customers know how current the information is.
5. Create an FAQ recording with answers to common questions for customers. Just remember to leave them a way to opt out and talk to someone live if they want.
6. Customers often gather information on the Web then use other means to make the purchase. Make it easy for them to call by adding a Web call button (a “Call Now” type button) to your Web site.
7. Make a quick business call while you pick out a Christmas tree. With virtual phone services for small business, customers will see your caller ID and will likely assume you’re calling from the office.
8. Instead of missing out on holiday parties you can step aside with your peppermint hot chocolate in hand and finish-up last minute business with the your phone’s conference call feature.
9. Don’t stay behind waiting to receive a fax in your home office while your family heads out to the in-laws for a pre-holiday feast. Treat your virtual phone service as a fax delivery the same as you do with your voicemail messages, and receive your faxes via email on your cell phone or laptop. Never wait around for a fax again!
10. Use smart call forwarding to offer 24×7 customer support. Smart call forwarding connects to any phone you choose. Have each person on staff take a night to provide that support during the holidays – then advertise it’s available.
11. Use smart call forwarding to carve out a little time for yourself. With smart call forwarding you can sneak out to do a little extended shopping, trim the tree with the family, or a holiday lunch without losing touch.
12. Make your holiday bright. Not a phone tip just good advice. Take the time to relax, enjoy and refresh yourself for 2010. Happy holidays!
About the Author:
Kevin Baker is my1voice Product Marketing Manager for Protus http://www.protus.com, provider of the highest quality Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) communication tools for small-to-medium businesses (SMB) and enterprise organizations, including my1voice, the cost-effective, feature-rich virtual phone service that travels with the user from phone to web, award-winning MyFax, the fastest growing Internet fax service and Campaigner, an email marketing solution with advanced automation features. Kevin can be reached at email@example.com