While local newspapers brush off their 'Jingle tills' headlines about the seasonal business boost, new research from Mediahawk HQ suggests that many firms may be missing up to 35% of calls from potential new customers during the festive period.
Never has the 24-hour global society been more evident than today, with some sneaking a quick look at their emails on the iPad between Monopoly and the big family movie. Others can barely wait for the Boxing Day sales to start on Christmas Day itself.
The fact is that business does not stop over Christmas, but there is no reason why businessmen and women can't enjoy some festive family time or a holiday – safe in the knowledge that some simple measures are in place to ensure that vital customer leads are not missed.
Our research covered over 100 retailers, but is just as relevant to professional services such as lawyers and accountants. It reveals that a massive 35% of calls can be missed if simple measures are not put in place to capture them when offices are closed or being run by a skeleton staff.
We compared calls over a typical four-week period (in October 2012) with the four-week Christmas period 2012 to review call volumes and missed calls.
Not surprisingly call volumes dropped dramatically during the Christmas/New Year week, as the following graph shows:
However, in the week running up to Christmas, the call volumes are still quite high following the same pattern as a typical week, i.e. low at the weekend.
Christmas week is naturally quieter, but there are still thousands of calls, slightly more than a third of what you would see in a typical week. The week following New Year's Day sees call volumes shoot up and behave like the day after a normal weekend (i.e. a Monday).
Missed Calls Percentage
Missed call levels hit a staggering 35% on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. That is a massive chunk of potential business to miss out on and our research suggested that it could easily have been avoided. It just requires a few simple measures put in place to cover staff holidays.
Apart from December 24-26 and New Year’s Day, missed call levels during the Christmas period match a typical four-week period with the most missed calls during the weekends.
Implications for 2013
With Christmas falling in the middle of the working week, as it did last year, we expect the call volumes and missed calls to follow the same pattern as 2012.
These simple measures will help avoid any missed calls and disgruntled customers during the festive period:
- Diverting the calls to a virtual answering service will reassure customers that their call is being dealt with straight away and that you are interested in their enquiry.
- A good answer phone message can also go a long way towards winning a new customer and keeping an existing one happy. Just keeping them informed with a polite message confirming Christmas opening times shows a caller that you are thinking of them. However, if you do use this approach, make sure you have someone clearing down the calls on a regular basis and remember to change the message after the holiday period.
- Obviously, those of you with a Mediahawk Call Tracking package can be kept aware of all call details with instant alerts and all the other bells and whistles.
Based on the data for 2012 we recommend you make sure measures are in place to manage your call volumes particularly on December 24-26 and January 1.
So, before you lose yourself in the joyous chimes of the festive period, make sure you have something place for new and existing customers who give you a bell this Christmas.
*The data reviewed was for over 100 retailers but we find that the raw trends are the same in other markets such as professional services (accountants and solicitors). For markets where the phone is used in emergencies (such as dentists) it is even more important to review how calls are handled over the Christmas period.
Have a great Christmas and New Year and feel free to ring us if you want us to expand on this data in more depth or help you come up with a strategy to make sure you look after your customers whilst your staff decide to go away on holiday.