By Bernadette Bennett, head of legal at Legal Futures Associate Moneypenny
April and May are just around the corner and with them come a whopping five bank holidays thanks to King Charles’ Coronation – as well as the usual Spring break and May half term. Research tells us that call volume can increase by up to 38% on the Tuesday following a bank holiday and drops in resource often cause issues for firms when it comes to maintaining client service standards.
The more people off work, the longer enquirers must wait for questions to be answered and issues to be resolved. But this needn’t be the case says Bernadette Bennett, head of legal at leading outsourced communications provider, Moneypenny, as there are several ways to ensure you remain the king of client communication.
Bernadette says: “Consider what resource you’ll have in place over the coming months. Savvy employees may have taken advantage of clever ways to book annual leave around bank holidays to offer extended breaks, so you could be short staffed for more than just a few days.
To avoid this national celebration being anything but that, ask yourself how a change in resource could impact your clients. Will you be open over the bank holiday weekend at all? If not, when can they expect call backs? How quickly will new enquiries be progressed? How will urgent calls be escalated? By planning for these kinds of scenarios now, you can ensure the most appropriate response and ensure both staff and clients know what to expect.”
Impress your audience
Extended response times are often expected around bank holidays, but they shouldn’t be says Bernadette: “There’s a tendency to think a drop in client service during busy or holiday periods is inevitable and even acceptable – but why? With the right level of outsourced support – overflow call handling, fully outsourced support or 24/7 live chat – you can capture all enquiries, take messages and escalate issues. Plus, you’ll show clients and prospects just how much you value their business – not just on bank holidays but all year round.”
Firms should use channels like their website, social media pages and any recorded phone messages to explain to clients how bank holidays will impact both service and availability – after all, no one expects your team to be available 247; they deserve a break too.
Bernadette says: “People are more forgiving when they know what’s happening, so it pays to manage expectations. If you’re closed altogether, explain for how long. If service is reduced or calls will be handled within 72 hours instead of your usual 24 hours, be upfront and say it. Notes on email footers and in newsletters, updated phone recordings, social media posts and live chat pop-ups can all help to spell out alternative opening hours and show client care matters.”
Bennett adds: “Help clients to help themselves. Website FAQs can guide them to find the answers to basic questions, while live chat can take messages, signpost people to what they need, and capture leads around the clock – as the same time as keeping volume away from the phones. Both options rely on the enquirer taking the lead when it comes to meeting their own needs. Having options like these is an important part of empowering clients and delivering choice.”
Set a standard
Bernadette concludes: “Set a standard for your client care all year round – make it your USP and choose not to let varying resource levels impact your reputation by having outsourced support in place, be that for overflow calls or fully outsourced support. Resist the temptation to rely on voicemail to pick up calls at busier times or during bank holidays – clients don’t like leaving them and you can save frustration by them knowing that a person will always answer the phone.
“Even if their enquiry can’t be resolved, leaving a message with a human is far better for your client as it makes them feel valued. No one wants to return to a raft of angry and frustrated messages or lost business. Use the next few weeks to ensure you have the right communication strategies in place, think about typical client needs and establish where outsourced support might help. Continuity is king when it comes to client care, after all.”