The holiday season is right around the corner, and for many businesses, it means that they are about to get much busier. With retail sales between November and January expected to exceed $1.1 trillion this year, it’s important that businesses are prepared in order to make the most of the holiday season.

Retailers everywhere are gearing up for the busy holiday sales season in a variety of ways. While brick-and-mortar stores see increased foot traffic, a majority of retail businesses see an increase in phone calls. Retailers have several options: they can hire seasonal employees to keep up with their increased sales volume, they can opt to outsource to an answering service, or a combination of the two.

If you’re anticipating a busy holiday sales season and are trying to figure out how to best prepare your business, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I need help inside my store or office? If it’s tasks like inventory, stocking shelves, and cleaning that you need extra assistance with, only a real person is going to be able to do the job. You will need to recruit, hire, and train people for these roles, but luckily there are many tasks where an in-house employee is not necessary.
  • Does my business see an increased call volume during the holiday season? In the months surrounding the holidays, you and your staff are likely busier with the day-to-day tasks, such as organizing merchandise and assisting customers. Add in a phone that’s suddenly ringing more than ever, and it might become more than you and your current employees can keep up with. If this is the case, an answering service can step in to ensure that your callers are speaking with a live person, and that their basic questions are being answered.
  • Is providing excellent customer service a top priority? Research found that there’s a 92% retention rate among companies who deploy a well-crafted customer service program. This tells us that no matter how hectic things get during the holiday season, it’s imperative that all customers receive top-notch customer service. With more people shopping during the holiday season, consider it an opportunity to please your current customers, and impress new ones so that they will become return customers. By partnering with an answering service company, you can rest assured that your callers are receiving excellent customer service while you focus your energy on managing the other areas of your business.
  • Do customers schedule appointments with my business? In addition to providing excellent customer service and answering questions that callers may have, the virtual receptionists from an answering service can also assist with scheduling appointments. Whether you’re a service provider or a retail store that offers personal stylist appointments or private fittings, an answering service can work with your staff to set appointments using software that prevents double bookings.

If you answered “yes” to the last three questions, a live answering service can be a life saver for your business during the holiday season. Businesses of all types see a huge boost in sales at this time of year, and the good news is that it’s not always necessary to hire in-house employees to keep up. By partnering with an answering service company, you can focus more of your energy on running your business.