It can be stressful to explain to your client that for the next two weeks, you will be out of the office. Clients who are particularly dependent on the great service that you provide, may not like hearing that you will be unavailable for the near future. There are many different ways to approach this delicate topic. Here are a few tips for that necessary conversation:
1. Make it Personal
Your client will feel more comfortable if you reach out directly to them when giving notice. Obviously, this may be difficult if you have a number of clients. However, if you identify those which may take the news of your vacation the hardest, reaching out to them personally can ease their discomfort.
This can be done in several different ways. If your client comes into the office during the month prior to your vacation, you can take that opportunity to tell them your plans directly. If they are not coming in, you can make a call to the phone number you have in your records. Another possible option is notification through the mail. A friendly notification note in the mail will let your client know that you are working hard to keep them informed.
2. Alternative Professional Assistance
It’s important that when you notify your client, you provide them some professional alternative should they need assistance. Some great resources for temporary medical or dental assistance are Medical Doctor Associates and Forest Irons.
If you are hiring someone to temporarily take over your appointments, let your client know that. You may want to add that you are fully confident in your temporary replacement. Those clients who truly love your work, may be skeptical of any temporary workers, but if you reassure them that they can trust the work of these assistants, then they may be more accepting.
If you will not have a temporary employee filling your role, you may want to offer another professional for your client to contact in case of emergency. This may be one of your colleagues whom you have a positive working relationship with. Be aware that this method involves some level of risk. Should your client like this alternative individual’s work, they may decide not to return to your office. Make your choices about this particular method accordingly.
3. Give Advance Notice
One thing you do not want to do is spring your vacation plans on your clients at the last moment. Once your plans have solidified, it is important you provide information to your clients as soon as possible. That will keep any clients from feeling put off or discovering that you are out of the office a day before they need your assistance. It may not always be easy to give this advanced notice, but ideally you can get the word out to your clients at least one week prior to your vacation.
4. Make Sure Everyone In The Office Knows Your Plans
It is important that everyone in your office is on the same page. This ensures that if any clients request information about the specifics of the dates you will be gone, everyone can confidently respond. You may consider writing your vacation days on a commonly viewed calendar or notice board in the office. What you want to avoid is any miscommunications between your staff and your clients. There is nothing more frustrating as a client than scheduling an appointment expecting one professional only to discover that he or she is out of the office. Get your plans out to everyone in your office as soon as they are solidified so you can avoid any miscommunications.
5. Personally Contact Rescheduled Clients
Some clients become frustrated when their appointments must be rescheduled due to vacation plans. In order to avoid alienating anyone with the need to reschedule, reach out to such individuals personally. This will most likely take the form of a phone call. Directly explain the situation to your client and apologize for any inconvenience. Doing this shows the client that you are taking a personal interest in their appointments. Something as simple as a phone call can help you build those long lasting client relationships that are ideal for your business.
6. Email Notifications
If you use email frequently in your business, consider setting up automatic vacation replies. When a client, or someone in your office sends you an email, they will automatically receive a response. You can determine the precise text of this response, but you will most likely want to express the dates you will be gone, and if you will be checking your email while away. This information will keep forgetful or unaware individuals from feeling frustrated that you did not respond to their email in the expected time.
By using these simple tips, you can help show your clients that you are invested in your business relationship. These tips will help you keep sensitive clients from feeling alienated while impressing all of your clients with your dedication. Keeping positive relationships with your clients is key in having a successful business, so be sure that you are taking all the steps possible to inform your clients about your vacation plans.