How to Maintain Great Customer Service Even When Your Staff Is on Vacation

Short on StaffIt’s summer, and your customer service staff decided to take a vacation. How do you keep with your customers happy while short staffed? Should you ask staff not to go on vacation? Can you ask them not to go on vacation? The goal of this blog post is about providing excellent customer service, but it is also about employee satisfaction.

First for the employee: Vacation should be not only encouraged but mandatory, and that means full on vacation with no internet or work-related connections. It’s not fair or even appropriate to say in one breath, “Have a great trip.” And then in the next say, “Will you at least be accessibly by email?”

Second for the employer: Don’t make excuses. Your clients or customers don’t care that you are short-staffed. So how do you meet this challenge?

Plan Ahead

As with most companies there is a preparation period that needs to take place before the vacation takes place.

Maintaining Customer Satisfaction

There are two ways to maintain your customer service while your staff is on vacation.

Hire Part-Time Help

One of the best ways to make sure you are maintaining great customer service is hiring part-time workers for that week or two weeks while your staff is away. It is easy to find part-time workers in college or high school students, or maybe even someone who has just lost his or her job and is looking for a temporary position somewhere. You can go to online hiring sites as well.

Depending on what kind of business you have, you may be looking for someone who will be answering the phone, sit behind a counter, or sit at a desk in front of a computer.

Desirable qualities for your part-time employee are:

  • Nice and pleasant person. Bad language or just plain bad behavior won’t help your clients or you. You don’t need that and your clients certainly don’t need that kind of behavior. Find someone who is nice and polite and won’t hurt your company’s hard earned reputation and will prove to be good worker.
  • Know your company. This is important because if they don’t know what your company does, they won’t be able to help anybody who comes with a complaint about your product or service. One or two weeks is too short a time to have someone go through a company training. You need someone who is already familiar with your work, your industry and your products or service.
  • Problem solver. You need a problem solver, not a problem creator. Mess is easy to make, but cleaning it up takes focused mind. Customer service is there for customers as much as it is for your company. If there is a problem with a product or a service, customer service is the first department to encounter that problem. You need someone who knows what needs to be done or who needs to be called to fix the problem so the rest of your company can concentrate on their workload.

Take a Company-Wide Vacation

It is not unheard of for an entire company to take a vacation, depending on the nature of the business. The key here is to LET YOUR CUSTOMERS KNOW!

In my neighborhood there are at least two businesses that do this every year, and it often happens twice a year for about two weeks.

This isn’t saying to your customers that you don’t care about them, but it is simply saying you need to rest and refresh your body and mind. And most people aren’t mad, instead they think, I’d like to work for a place that closed down for two week. Maybe you can be!

There is nothing wrong with taking a vacation once or twice a year for a few weeks, but it can be bad if you are taking a vacation every other week.

Depending on the nature of your business, it is important to do these few things before your company takes a vacation:

  • It is important to make sure and know the exact dates when your company will be working again or else you may really lose your business.
  • Post the dates on your website, social media, and update the voice mail with the information. Make sure to specify that the company is taking a vacation.
  • Set up your voicemail, send out an email, and update the social media and your website with information where your customers can go if they do get a problem with your product or service.
  • If it’s a generic problem, a solution may already be posted somewhere online if not even on your own website. Make sure to post links to those generic problems. If the service you are offering can be fixed by a second or a third party, make sure that information is not hiding, but that it is located in plain view.
  • You may also think about hiring a calling service to take calls, update your social media and website while you are away. There are good companies that can do this; and if you decide on the calling service, some of them fulfill all three criteria listed in the first part of the post.
  • Before you leave for a few weeks make sure your building or offices are secured. If you are in an office building and there is a guard service in the building make sure and notify them on time.
  • If you are in your own building and can’t hire a guard, you may want to contact the police or sheriff department and ask them if they can do an extra check-up when patrolling your area.
  • As with any 21st century business, make sure all your computers have good password protection and all the important documents are stored away in a safe place.

So whether you choose to hire a part-time worker or the whole company takes a vacation, remember that the customer service is at the front line of your business, and that your customers need to know that you care about them.


Eric Wagner

While Eric now focuses on internet marketing, he also has a background in web development. He loves being among the first to find out about new tech—and better yet, being a part of making that tech succeed. Eric is known to be a good listener, seeking to understand how each individual sees the world. He is a harmonizer in group settings, cultivating unity while constructing the overall goal and strategy. When he’s not busy helping i7 clients dominate the online marketplace, Eric enjoys drone videography (he’s got a UAV pilot’s license), woodworking, community service, and all things outdoors.

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