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Don’t Leave Your Customers Hungry This Thanksgiving

Picture by: Charles M. Schulz

Are you prepared for the holiday season?  As you get yourself ready for familial responsibilities, don’t forget to take care of your customer ones.  Mainly, having a plan for how they can get support if your office is “officially” closed over the holiday. Here are some quick suggestions to ensure you don’t look like a turkey to your team and customers this year:

  1. Identify the level of coverage you’ll need.  Review historical support ticket and product usage during the closure period.  Talk to your customer success leaders and staff, as well as your sales, product, and marketing managers.  Be aware of any drivers of current customer communications (recent feature release, specific segment seasonal needs, etc.).  Index your data into a resourcing model and socialize with key members of your team to “stress test” your findings. You may find you need only one support person or a fully staffed customer success organization.  Your customers, team, and assessment data will guide you here.

  2. Get your team prepped.  You’ve got your data, now who’s going to do the work?  Unless this is clearly an “all hands” effort, you’ll be asking for volunteers.  Approach your customer success team with the data so they can see how you arrived at your resource need.  Show them the escalation paths and resources available to them during the holiday so they know they won’t be  alone in a pinch. Assure those who volunteer that they will be provided “makeup” holiday(s) and that their leadership will be monitoring the day’s activities and will release them as soon as possible.  Feeling supported and appreciated will go a long way toward earning volunteers for the effort. (Providing a small SPIF never hurts , and don’t forget to check with HR and Finance to see if they’ll be eligible for overtime pay!)  

  3. Circulate your plan internally.  You’ve got your data and resourcing volunteers, is the rest of the company ready too?  Start with your leadership peers. Share your data and coverage model and give them a brief opportunity to provide feedback.  (This is also a great time for other departments to confirm that their holiday preparations are complete.) Make any final adjustments, then announce the coverage plan to the entire organization and post it in your internal knowledge base.

  4. Prep customers for the office closure.  Subtle but direct messaging will facilitate a successful customer and company holiday experience.  Ask all customer-facing staff to update their e-signatures with information about the upcoming closure.  Leverage technology to post an in-product announcement. Make sure all measures provide a small snippet about, and a direct link to, your customer support center.  Give your high touch accounts a little extra love. Have Customer Success Managers proactively engage their high touch accounts with information about the coverage plan that’s relevant to those customers prior to the other announcements.  They’ll appreciate being more top-of-mind than the others.

These basic guidelines will give customers the confidence you're always thinking of them first and foremost, and help you establish your own company traditions around creating the best customer experience during holidays. Customer coverage plan ready and rolled out? Check! Now on to turkey…

Happy Thanksgiving!

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