As I write this blog post, we are gripped by an uncharacteristic UK heatwave – and as schools are almost out for Summer, it’s got me thinking about how businesses deal with Summer Holidays – not just with managing your own workforce, with a huge chunk of annual leave being taken over the school summer holidays, but also for keeping in touch with your clients when perhaps your key contact might be on holiday?
I’m sure that I’m not alone in feeling a huge frustration when I get an out of office reply from a key contact when I just need to finalise the details of an order, and without that detail, or agreement, the order can’t be placed – leading to a delay in delivery. It’s worth a conversation at the beginning of the process about potential holidays that need to be accounted for in the process – including any factory shutdowns of your suppliers- they need a break too!
Open rates are lower in holiday times
If you send a regular newsletter, you might find that your open rate is affected during traditional holiday times as people disappear on their family holidays and simply ignore anything non-urgent in their inbox on their return.
I’m not telling you not to bother contacting your customers during the hot spell – far from it, but sometimes, you need to think outside of the box to achieve an impact, and this can work particularly well when you know that people will be returning from holidays, maybe not quite so happy as they were as they departed, and with a huge pile of emails and letters waiting for them to deal with on their return.
How do you deal with your own inbox?
How do you deal with your inbox on your own return from annual leave? Do you filter the urgent stuff and bin the rest? I read a story a couple of years ago about someone who said on their out of office that they would delete ALL emails on their return to the office on X date – and if the email was important, it should be resent after this date – I don’t think I would be that brave for fear of missing out on something really important – but I admire their approach.
So, think about how YOU deal with your own incoming after a period of relaxation and fun, and then that opens up new possibilities for you to implement in your own contact strategies. Think about how you can get noticed for the right reasons – if it’s an order you’re after, why not post a catalogue along with a notepad and pen to your contact? If it’s a chance for a catch up, why not send them a mug with tea, coffee & biscuits – ‘lumpy mail’ really can work – and when you know that there is going to be a sea of competing communications, it’s worth going the extra mile to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re heading off on holiday soon yourself, perhaps you’ll have your own lumpy mail to return to – hope it makes you smile.
Jody is Director of Oxfordshire based Chilli Promotional Products which was established in 2008 and supplies large and small businesses, Universities and Councils throughout the UK with marketing merchandise, corporate clothing and business gifts. Jody is also a wife, mother and animal lover and keen cook when time permits!