Ever stress about keeping in touch with clients over a busy holiday week or weekend? I think we can all easily say we have experienced something of the sort at one point or another! Imagine the work week being practically finished and, with the short week and long weekend, how will your clients keep you in mind? How do we stay on track? Well, I am here to tell you a few helpful tips on how to efficiently communicate with your clients before and after time off over the holidays.
With the hustle and bustle of your everyday work flow, it is easy to prolong phone calls or meetings with clients without even trying. You or the client might plan time off around certain holidays which can cause opposite availability on each end. If you know you or the client is going to be away for a day or two or longer, it is critical to arrange things based off of that schedule. Try and schedule all meetings and phone calls ahead of time to avoid delayed progress with any projects. Make sure to communicate a week or two in advance to set the expectation of what will be needed prior to the time away.
Out of Office Messages
Always be sure to set an automated “Out of Office” message for you and your clients. Some people find these messages quite annoying, BUT this message lets them know the days and time you will not be at your desk and how accessible you will be to them. Setting an automated email response keeps your clients updated and makes them feel like you took the time to consider them by letting them know. You can even add a personal touch by wishing them a happy holiday if you want!
If you offer someone as a point of contact in your absence you can consider being CC’d to stay current on where things were left off. Make sure to clearly lay out your level of communication during the time away. If you can take phone calls, be sure to mention that. You can mention to include the word “Urgent” in the subject line if it is a red-hot item needing immediate attention or let them know you will not have access or have very limited access during that time. This will help you quickly prioritize if and when you get the chance to check your inbox during your time outside of the office and avoid any potential miscommunications with your clientele.
Back to the Grind
Having time away or a day off from the office is a great way to unwind and recharge but once you return it’s time to get back at it full throttle! Don’t waste time and mentally prepare yourself to turn that vacation mode off! The best thing you can do, once back in the office, is go through your inbox and start responding accordingly but make sure to take your time. Although you want to get back to your clients in a timely fashion it is important not to blow right through them seeing as though an email can be easily skipped or deleted. The quality of your response over how quickly you can reply is essential. When responding to requests, acknowledge where you left off prior to your time away. This shows the client you have an understanding and commitment to their project and can efficiently continue moving forward.
Overall, make sure you and the client both have a complete understanding of where things are being left off before time away from your desk. Setting expectations prior helps to eliminate issues that neither party want to deal with! Take advantage of your resources, set that automated message, it is extremely helpful and will reveal an honest expectation of your availability to the client. Always have a plan of attack when returning to the office. Don’t walk in and expect your inbox not to be overflowing. Get back in there and get to it!