Heading back to work after a long holiday weekend is tough, especially if you can’t truly unplug from your job. Part of agency life, is understanding that the work we do isn’t just reserved to the 9 to 5 timeframe. We have to be monitoring our client’s social media accounts 24/7 as well as keeping an eye out for any media opportunities. Obviously this makes vacationing tough. So whether you are a business owner or have multiple customers/clients that you need to stay in touch with, vacationing can be difficult.
Here are my tips to all small business owners and communication specialists on keeping a client happy while sipping rum on a beach somewhere.
- Communicate far in advance. If you have a vacation coming up, be sure to notify your clients so they aren’t taken by surprise when they receive an out-of-office email. Let them know that you are going on vacation, who their back-up contact will be and that you will be checking email periodically in case of any immediate needs.
- Update them prior to leaving. The week before you jet out of the country or go to the woods camping, send them an update on all current activities. This lets them see what is in process and that nothing will be missed. It also gives them confidence that you have things handled.
- Email them once. This is something I do while on vacation and it sets myself and my clients at ease. I shoot them an email halfway through the vacation and ask them if there is anything that needs to be taken care of immediately or before your return to the office. This is great client relations, because it shows your clients that you prioritize them even when out-of-the-office.
- Prep your back-up. If you have another staff member that will be handling things in your absence, not all of us are so lucky, then be sure to schedule a quick 30 minute conversation with them to debrief on your clients. I would be sure to include them in communication to the client a few weeks prior to your vacation. The client will get used to seeing their name and will also have their contact info handy.
- Relax, damnit! You are of no use to your clients or employees if you don’t take time to decompress. Try to not think about work and read a book, do some adult coloring or just take a nap.
As small business owners we live and breath our company, and that is needed for success. However, we also need the luxury to be off the grid for a few days. With enough prep before leaving for vacation, you ensure that nothing will slip through the cracks while you are gone. Just remember – communicate, update and hand-off.