A string of holidays is coming. First there’s Thanksgiving. A few weeks later comes Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, followed by New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. And don’t forget the long four-day weekend associated with Thanksgiving and the days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Altogether these days make up a lot of time when it isn’t “business as usual,” despite how badly you may want it to be. This includes additional days off from work, a preoccupation with holiday preparations, parties, vacations, and general distractions from actually getting work done. Despite all this, your business needs to function without a hitch. An answering service can play a huge role in making this happen. Here’s how: Holiday Parties: Most businesses and offices hold holiday parties. But what happens with your ringing phone during your celebration? What happens if a client, customer, or prospect tries to reach you when everyone is enjoying his or her eggnog? Does one poor soul need to be the “designated receptionist?” Do you exclude someone from the festivities in order to answer phone calls? No, you want to include everyone, and a telephone answering service can allow this to happen. Extra Days Off: Most businesses shut down on black Friday and a few days before or after Christmas and New Year’s Day. You want to give your staff the time off; after all, they deserve it. But what about the folks who want to call you during these down times? Let your answering service handle your phone calls so your staff can take a needed break. Times of Low Staffing: On other occasions you have a skeleton staff, especially in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and the days between Christmas and New Year’s. What happens to your phone when most of your staff is out? With an answering service as backup, there’s no need to worry. Plant Shutdowns: Beyond low staffing levels, some operations simply shut down from Christmas Eve through to New Year’s Day. But you certainly can’t ignore your phone calls for a full week. No one is that patient. By the time January second rolls around your callers will have moved on to your competitors. Once again your answering service can come to your rescue. Inventory Days: Companies with merchandise and stock often need to do an annual inventory to align the reality of their stockroom and shelves with the numeric counts in their computer databases. This often happens at the end or beginning of each year, and these businesses shut down for a day or two so they can count without interruption. Let your answering service handle your phone calls during your inventory times to remove the interruption of ringing phones. Last Minute Vacations: Too often employees approach the end of the year with unused vacation days. Faced with a “use them or lose them” vacation policy, they opt to use them. If too many people do this, the strain on the remaining staff is palpable. Your answering service can help ease the burden. Now is the time to make these holiday coverage arrangements with your answering service. Call them today and then you and your staff can enjoy the holidays more. Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center and telephone answering service industry – and who helps businesses and organizations find the perfect answering service. Contact Janet at email@example.com or call 800-901-7706. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.