Burnout is real. Multiple lockdowns and the constant uncertainty of the pandemic followed by an dramatic and sustained spike in demand has left franchise employees feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, 42% of people were still experiencing anxiety around the pandemic in February 2021 and the HSE has also revealed that the rate of work-related stress, depression and anxiety has increased in recent years and that it accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health in 2019/20.
Your workforce doesn’t just deserve a break, they need one and with restrictions lifted, many are taking the opportunity for some well-deserved R&R. The good news is that well rested employees are more focused and productive but is their time off having a short-term impact on your customer experience which, in turn, could be causing a long-term impact on your reputation?
Here, Jess Pritchard, Head of Corporate at leading outsourced communications provider, Moneypenny, explains why investing in year-round support is the answer to delivering wow-worthy customer care that doesn’t depend on staffing levels.
Avoid last minute panic
One of the many things that has changed during the pandemic is our approach to annual leave. Now it’s not so easy to hop on a plane to warmer climes for a week or two during the holidays, people are taking shorter breaks at different time of year. Or, they’re having to take time off at short notice due to being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid app or a child’s bubble bursting at school.
As a result, it’s not so easy to plan holiday cover which is leaving customer service shaped gaps in many franchise businesses. Outsourced client care solutions, such as telephone answering support or live chat, solves this issue and can be scaled up or down depending on requirements – ensuring you’re prepared for any eventuality and saving on holiday request induced panic.
Protect your brand
Outsourced services play an important role in not only handling queries and capturing leads but protecting the brand that organisations work so hard to develop. When holidays leave you light on resource, it allows in-house staff to continue giving warm face-to-face customer service while simultaneously avoiding calls ringing out or reaching voicemail. If a client calls with a concern and is unable to speak to the correct person, leaving a message with a friendly, knowledgeable telephone answering agent will leave them feeling confident that their business is valued and protect brand reputation.
Avoid seasonal changes in revenue
Sometimes ‘quiet months’ are unavoidable but if your bottom line is dipping as a result of being unable to handle incoming enquiries, there’s a problem. You could be missing out on valuable new business and in a competitive marketplace, the fact is that if a prospect can’t speak to someone online or via phone on demand then they’ll fall straight into the hands of a competitor.
Don’t fall victim to the all too common less profitable August and December – your services are needed all year round, so ensure you gave an adequate client communications solution in place and grab the business by both hands.
You’ll not only benefit from improved customer care, a stronger pipeline and a rock solid reputation, but a happier, more engaged workforce. Happy holidays!
 2019/20 data from HSE https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress.pdf