Summer is the perfect time for taking a holiday. School is out for the kids, the skies are (mostly) blue, temperatures are heating up across Europe, and every morning begins with the birds singing in the trees. Those balmier climes do one very specific thing to our mindsets: they make us realise how long overdue we are for a break.
We’ve all been guilty of it before – working so hard that we get caught up in how well our jobs are going and forget that we still need some time to switch off. Although such an attitude is inarguably laudable, it will also make you burn out if you don’t remember to factor in some much-needed time to yourself.
" Your mind is telling you something important: take some time out!"
When that realisation hits you, don’t feel guilty about it for a second. After all, you’ve put so much effort into building your business up to this point that you’ve undoubtedly earned it. Your mind is telling you something important: take some time out!
Still, it’s natural to find the prospect daunting. You may find yourself with visions of coming back to a business whose clients have all gone elsewhere, whose standard of customer service has disintegrated, and whose communication skills have become non-existent.
"Get away from work during the holidays, without worrying about your business"
This is normal, but it’s not the reality. Your customers will undoubtedly take holidays too, and that means that whether it’s plumbing work, heating, gas, or electrical problems that they need you to take care of, they will understand.
However, to help stop you fretting over it, here are five top tips to enable you to get away from work during the holidays, without worrying about your business the whole time you’re away…
1. Organise your diary before you go
One of the best ways to make sure that you’re properly able to enjoy your holiday is by planning it well in advance. For those with field service jobs, organisation is always key, which is one of the reasons that we created Commusoft to begin with.
Whether you prefer to keep a written diary or use a more technologically advanced tool such as the ones we provide, mark your dates clearly in your schedule, so that you never commit to attending a job that you won’t actually be there to complete.
This way, you can avoid any possibility of having to field angry phone calls from disappointed clients needing their boiler fixing, leaving you free to enjoy your travels.
2. Leave an "out of office" email and a phone message to keep your clients informed
For those who work in the field, we also suggest doing a phone version of a standard ‘out of office’ email. Make sure you record a message prior to leaving, including the dates you’ll be away between and an explanation that you’re on holiday.
If you have a work mobile, this means that you won’t be pestered by people wanting their plumbing looked at while you’re away, but that you’ll still have managed to achieve a good level of communication with your clients and are thus providing a positive customer experience.
Nor will you then be wasting their time by leaving them in the dark and wondering why you’re not contactable; rather, you’ll be providing them with immediate notice of your absence so they don’t waste their time repeatedly trying to get in touch with you.
3. Leave behind an alternative contact number
Included in the above message, we further suggest noting down the number of an alternative contact for your clients to use while you’re unavailable.
Although this may seem like you’re sending work to those who might poach your clients from you, remember that they will have to seek help elsewhere regardless, so instead of leaving them to it, earn some brownie points by demonstrating consummate professionalism and great customer service. You could even negotiate an arrangement with the individual you recommend, so that they, in turn, recommend you for work when they’re away.
4. Post notice on any professional pages you have
In the same way that you’ll have used your voicemail message to notify clients of your absence, take to any social media platforms you have to do the same.
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, provide notice of your absence and the reason for it to ensure that your customers are aware that you’re not around, and don’t feel the need to contact you unnecessarily while you’re away.
5. Make it clear when you’ll be back
Last but not least, for your own peace of mind, make it clear when you’re going to be back. We’ve noted in a number of the paragraphs above that you might want to include dates, and doing this will mean that those who call in a non-emergency situation may well be willing to wait until you are available before seeking elsewhere for an alternative professional.
At the very least, you’ll have the leeway of knowing that nobody expects you to contact them while you’re away, as they’ll be fully aware that you’re on holiday and taking a well-deserved break.
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