Give yourself the best chance to actually have a holiday!
With the Christmas holidays rapidly approaching, we are all well and truly ready for some R&R – but it can be tough when you are a small business owner in the 24/7 digital world.
While we can’t just get our annual leave signed off and walk out the door like the “other half” – by setting expectations of your website visitors, you can hopefully get some down time.
My top tips for how to communicate holiday hours on your website:
- Display clearly on your homepage (above the fold)
Whether you do this in a banner, replace your usual slider image, or add something to your header, make it very obvious right up top, so they do not have to scroll down to see it (aka “above the fold”).
For service businesses, let people know when you are closed, or what your reduced hours are.
For e-commerce, clearly establish when your final shipping date is for Christmas. If you are going to have a period where you will not be shipping at all, state this too.
- Add details to your Contact page
If people are wanting to get in touch with you, this is where they will look.
Set their expectations before they even have a chance to phone or send you an email about when you will be able to reply.
- Use the Woocommerce site-wide notice feature
If you have an e-commerce site and use Woocommerce, go to Woocommerce > Settings > tick and fill out the Store Notice section.
This will put a small banner across the top of every page of your website, so nobody can miss it.
The colours/fonts etc can be changed with CSS (let me know if you need help with the CSS styling).
- Amend your opening hours
If your website displays your opening hours usually, make note of your holiday hours here, and inform them when regular hours will resume.
Other ways to communicate your holiday hours
Tell your mailing list
Make sure your loyal customers know in advance – include this in your next newsletter.
Add it to your email signature
In the lead up to the holidays, ensure that all clients are aware of your upcoming unavailability. This may prompt them to get a hustle on and complete what they are working on with you.
Pin a post on your Facebook page
Making this very obvious to all visitors to your page that your replies may be slower over this period, and when you will get back to them.
Amend your opening hours on Facebook, Google+, etc
If you have a physical premises, making these as accurate as possible is ideal – people trust Mr Google too much sometimes…
Clients or suppliers that you speak to regularly by phone shouldn’t have to find out by going to voicemail 😉
Change your voicemail
…and make a note to remind yourself to change it back when you return to work!
Out of office on your email
Set your email up with an automated out of office reply.
This will ensure that people know that their message has been received, and when you will reply to them – setting expectations realistically will help you leave the phone alone for a while!
Happy holidays everyone!
With nobody expecting you to reply – hopefully you won’t need to.
Disclaimer: Emergencies typically do happen when least convenient, so ensure that you advise people how to get in contact with you if they absolutely must. A holiday is great, but going AWOL in someone’s hour of need can have negative consequences.