With the holiday season fast approaching, many people are starting to think about Christmas.
This time of year gives your MSP business the rare opportunity to enjoy a relatively quiet time – assuming, of course, that you haven’t planned in rollouts and migrations. If so, Christmas may prove a time of stress rather than peace, albeit a lucrative one.
If you’re looking forward to easing things back a little, however, here are five tips to help your MSP business make the best of the Christmas period.
1. Establish your clients’ plans
Now is the time to get in touch with each of your clients, and establish their plans for Christmas. Hopefully, you’ll find that a fair proportion plan to close their doors for an extended Christmas holiday.
Unfortunately, it’s almost inevitable that a couple of your clients will plan to work right up until Christmas Eve and be back in the office almost as soon as the gifts are unwrapped. It’s also inevitable that these clients will expect IT support if something goes wrong.
2. Decide your operating hours
Once you know what to expect from your clients, you can decide on your MSP’s own operating hours. It all depends on what your clients expect of you. While it’s almost certain your call volumes will drop through the floor, those customers who do have a problem will expect some help.
Try to share the work out so that you and your staff all have some uninterrupted time off.
3. Do some checks
There’s plenty you can do NOW to minimize the chance of seasonal interruptions. For a start, check all your backups and all your UPS devices. Tackle issues that are worrying you NOW, so that you can relax when the opportunity arises.
4. Make use of the downtime
Obviously the best way to make use of the holiday season is to spend quality time with your family and friends, but the quiet season also gives you a chance to catch up with business tasks you may have been avoiding.
Perhaps you need to update your policies and procedures, or create your marketing plan for 2014? Maybe it’s just time for the office to have a thorough de-clutter and deep clean? Whatever you do with this time, you will appreciate your own efforts when you return in the New Year.
5. Set up your “out of office” presence
When you are happy that you are “done,” and ready to close the doors for Christmas, make sure you create a thorough “out of office” presence:
This includes voicemail messages on both cellphones and landlines that clearly explain when you reopen, and how contracted clients should get in touch for emergency support. Everyone should also have an email auto-reply message set up.
It’s well worth trying to “second guess” what will happen at Christmas. Taking the time to do so will allow you to proactively avoid at least some of the interruptions. Happy Christmas!