Tinsel and festive decorations are a great way to spread holiday cheer in your office or store, but there’s more you could be doing to keep your callers happy this holiday season. After all, they’re stressed out, stretched beyond their limits and could use a little holiday cheer.

With that in mind, here are six tips for bringing a little joy to their holidays:

  1. Tell your callers just how long the wait time is. We all know that wait times can be long during the holidays, but just how long matters. Don’t leave your customers hanging, wondering how much time they’ll spend on hold — but don’t lie to them either. Customers respond more positively to being told they have to wait longer than they actually end up holding than the other way around. Make them happy with shorter than expected hold times.
  1. Let callers skip the queue. Sometimes callers really just want to leave a message or have a particular person call them back. You can configure your phone system to allow them to skip the queue and do just this. You’ll speed up their service time, reduce the number of people on hold and make the process easier for everyone involved.
  1. Keep callers occupied while they wait. Psychologists know that if you keep people busy while they’re waiting, they feel like they’ve been waiting for less time than they actually have. You can use that psychological tidbit to your advantage and provide some festive holiday music or advertisements for new products for callers on hold. Besides, there’s nothing quite as nerve-wracking as the feeling of not really knowing if you’re still on hold when the line clicks over to a deafening silence.
  1. Be ready to answer questions quickly and accurately. You’re going to be swamped with calls this holiday season, and the callers may not be all that patient or forgiving. Remember that they’re stressed, too, and just want fast answers to their burning questions. Make sure your team is prepped ahead of time and ready to give your customers the right answers the first time to avoid a lot of angry calls back and lost customers.
  1. Designate emergency contacts ahead of time. Even if you’re managing your own phone calls, it’s important to let your employees know who to contact in an emergency far ahead of the holiday season. If you’ll be using a rotation, post that information in a visible place so that all emergency callers can be serviced in a timely manner.
  1. Get extra help by hiring an answering service. If you only have a small staff and limited time to dedicate to the ringing phone, bringing in a live telephone answering service can make a huge difference to customer satisfaction. Professional, dedicated telephone operators will quickly and efficiently work through your customer call queues on a 24×7 basis, answering questions and generating lots of holiday cheer while they do it. You only pay for the calls they answer, unlike hiring a full-time employee such as a receptionist or secretary.

This year, make it a goal to keep your callers happy throughout the holiday season. It can be a long, chaotic time for businesses of every kind, but if you can spread a little joy to your customers and help them make better use of their time, they’ll reward you in loyalty throughout the rest of the year.