eom_blog_merry-christmas

The countdown is on as we cross off the numbers of working days left. Along with the majority of other businesses across Australia, most agencies shut their doors over the Christmas period.

So it may or may not come as a surprise, but your clients, as well as also enjoying their own Christmas cheer, will also expect their regular payments to continue over the Christmas period or be informed of changes.

Avoid any nasty starts to the new year with unhappy, unpaid and uninformed clients at your door. To do so, we’ve outlined the steps to take to ensure your clients are 100% informed about your Christmas holiday hours and procedures.

Accordingly, taking the proactive approach now will also avoid hundreds of repetitive phone calls from confused or ill-informed landlords.

Put your software to work!

Most trust accounting software has an embedded feature that is a cost and time effective way to keep your clients informed of the agencies holiday plans. You will find within your software a global statement messaging option which can be programmed to inform your clients of your agency Christmas operating hours, closures and most importantly, when they will be paid over the festive season.

Being organised in November means an efficient December in the lead up to Christmas. By including your Christmas details on your client’s November statement, you are ensuring they are informed well ahead of time and they have the option to contact you only if needed (as opposed to fielding hundreds of individual calls).

Of course, each individual software system will have its own method of applying the message to the November statement, so take the time to read the process carefully to ensure the message is relayed successfully and correctly.

Another personal contact opportunity with your clients

This is a good time to connect on a personal level with your clients as opposed to the day-to-day communications. It’s the time to include best wishes and thanks for the work performed this year in addition to any gifts or cards that your agency may send.

Getting your message across

Your holiday message will depend on how your agency is choosing to operate over the festive season. Therefore, as a guide, agencies choose one of two options:

  • First is when your agency is closing completely and payment runs will be made on a different date to the normal monthly run
  • Second is for those who are running on skeleton staff and disbursing payments as normal.

Agency is closed for holiday period (Option 1)

“Our office will be closed from 5pm, 23rd December 2016 and will re-open at 9am, 9th January 2017. Please note that monthly payments will be disbursed early, being the 23rd December and as normal on the 31st January 2017. From all the staff at <insert agency name> we wish you and your families a safe holiday season and prosperous new year. We thank you for your business throughout the year and look forward to continuing in the year ahead”

Agency is closed but payments will be normal (Option 2)

“Our office will be closed from 5pm, 23rd December 2016 and will re-open at 9am, 9th January 2017. Please note that monthly payments will be disbursed as normal, on the 31st December.

From all the staff at <insert agency name> we wish you and your families a safe holiday season and prosperous new year. We thank you for your business throughout the year and look forward to continuing in the year ahead”

Don’t forget your tenants  

The number of agencies that take the time to thank their tenants for their business and to wish them a Merry Christmas is few and far between. Not only is it a good opportunity to practice Christmas giving, it is wise to remember that tenants can, and do, move on to be landlords. Because remember, people have strong memories of good and loyal customer service. As they may be your tenants today but they could very well be your landlords or potential purchasers tomorrow.

You can use mail merges to notify the tenants when the agency will be closing and how to manage any emergency situations if they arise.

Example Tenant Message

“Dear XX

We would like to update you with our Christmas closure dates for 2016. Our office will be closed from 5pm, 23rd December 2016 and will re-open at 9am, 9th January 2017. 

Should you have any emergency repairs during this time, please contact; 

  • Electrician 04** *** ***
  • Plumber 04** *** ***
  • Locksmith 04** *** ***
  • SES *** ***

From all the staff at <insert agency name> we wish you and your families a safe holiday season and prosperous new year. We thank you for your business throughout the year and look forward to continuing in the year ahead”

In conclusion, take the time to wish your clients and tenants a Merry Christmas.  Keep them informed of your operating hours and payments to ensure a happy client base when you return in the New Year.

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