Don’t miss your calls (Oh yes, you do!)

Another year has sped past and here we are again in the run-up to Christmas with lots of well-earned holiday to be taken. However, is your business fit to take the calls from your customers whilst you are feasting on the Christmas leftovers? In this blog we review previous Christmas call data to show the effect of all the public holidays on call volumes and missed call rates.

The research

We reviewed the call data for over 100 automotive retailers to compare their call volumes and missed call rates on a daily basis in contrast to a typical week (4 weeks of December and January compared to February). This has then been charted to demonstrate the impact of the holidays (Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Day) and weekends in terms of call volumes and missed calls.

The results: call volumes

During the week before Christmas and after the New Year, call volumes remain similar to a typical week. In the Christmas week, call volumes are approximately 45% lower than our typical week. The following week (New Year), they rise slightly but remain around 20% lower than average.

In the week before Christmas week and after New Year, the call volumes follow the trend of a typical four week period (in blue in the graph below). Monday is always the busiest day, while the weekends see the fewest calls. The call volumes over the Christmas period are much more ‘spikey’ due to the way holidays overlap with weekends (December data in red):

Call volume trend graph.

The three interesting spikes are:

  1. The Monday before Christmas
  2. The first working day after Christmas and Boxing Day. In 2014, this was Monday 29th, in 2015 it will be Tuesday 29th
  3. The first working after the New Year bank holiday. Last year it was Friday 2nd, this year it will be Monday 4th.

The results: missed calls

The graph below shows how missed calls spike during the holiday periods – Christmas (60%!) and New Year’s day (40%). They also increase on the days following the holiday periods.

Top actions to take for Christmas 2015

Based on previous Christmas call volume data, we recommend the following actions:

  • Staff up for higher than normal spikes on the following dates:
    • Monday 21st December – sorting everything out before Christmas
    • Tuesday 30th December – following 4 days of holiday
    • Monday 4th January – following 4 days of holiday with everything back to normal, pent-up demand brings in the calls
  • If you cannot staff up for these days, then let staff know that you will be expecting higher than usual call volumes on these days.
  • Where possible, put in place messages explain opening hours if you cannot cover the phones during the holiday period.
  • If you use an answerphone, make sure that someone is regularly clearing down the messages and responding to them.
  • With multi-sites, look to put in place a call divert to one reception so that calls can be taken without incurring significant extra receptionist costs.

If you have Mediahawk tracking numbers, make sure you have set up missed call alerts and put a process in place for monitoring them.

Christmas is a time for relaxing and reflecting on your achievements of the past year and aims for the coming year. Make your life even more content by reviewing your telephone operations, making sure your staff can cope with the anticipated holiday call volumes and how the season will affect your customer interactions.

Do feel free to get in touch with us if you want us to review your data or sector to get a better understanding of how Christmas and the holidays will affect your operations.

About the author - Natalia Selby

Marketing Executive at Mediahawk, with 20 years experience in analytics and content management.