Another announcement: Are your comms channels ready?
Louise Wilson is head of finance sector of Moneypenny
As the Prime Minister’s Plan B is rolled-out to tackle the Omicron variant – businesses should be prepared for the impact on their communications’ infrastructure.
Here I highlight the importance of making communication with customers, prospects and suppliers as easy as possible as another COVID-Christmas approaches.
Tip1: Dust of your comms approach
Although remote working is now second nature for many mortgage brokers and lenders and many have updated their phone systems to suit, it would be timely to revisit comms strategies and how you plan to manage demand.
Consider how that demand might manifest – will it be an influx of calls to reschedule face-to-face appointments for example, so that you can put the right support in place.
Consider the use of a dedicated specialist phone line, outsourced support or managed live chat to help you through the weeks ahead.
Tip 2: Accessibility rules
Restrictions can lead to feelings of isolation and panic. Ensure that your business is accessible, whether that’s over the phone or online and at all times of day and night.
At the height of the pandemic we saw increased demand outside traditional office hours. While no one expects your team to be available at 11pm to handle queries – having someone take messages or respond to online chats at those times can really quell people’s fears and show your business as client-centric and responsive.
Tip 3: Don’t rely on voicemail
Over the last 18 months we’ve heard many stories of firms that lost clients and prospects because voicemail messages weren’t checked, or calls returned.
With the help of telephone answering and outsourced switchboard, it’s possible to guarantee a human response every time, take an accurate message and reassure the caller that their query and business is important. Voicemail is not advised, even over the Christmas holiday.
Tip4: Prioritise empathy
The nation’s anxiety levels were high at the start of the pandemic and during lockdown. It was evident in the number, duration, content and timing of the many thousands of calls and live chats we managed for financial businesses, as well as the wider economy.
Remind your client-facing team of the need for empathy and understanding when dealing with clients and prospects.
Tip 5: Rest and recuperate
It’s the time of year when your people will be looking forward to a period of rest and fun with family and friends. Make sure they return feeling refreshed by putting adequate holiday cover in place.
You may be operating with a skeleton staff throughout the festive break, but the changing COVID situation could prompt an influx of queries. Temporary outsourced support can get you through and buy you goodwill with your team and your clients.