It’s Vacation Time
Every year in August, most B-to-B direct marketers are in the doldrums — at least until the last week of the month when customers return from their summer vacations. Next to the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the late July/early August period proves to be one of the slowest for B-to-B catalogers. So what can you do? Here are some ideas on how to handle these down periods.
* Make sure your own staffers use their vacation and any accumulated comp time.
* Reward your hard workers with an extra day off. There will come a time during your busy period that you’ll be glad you did. Set up a system to do it fairly based on merit.
* Try a “private sale” targeted to your online customers’ “wish lists” or planned/past purchases. Friday tends to be a particularly good day for such limited-time bargain offers.
* Take advantage of the time to change over files, do new product training and get ready for the fall season.
* Ask your call-center reps to help out other departments that might be busier. These cross-department experiences can build a strong team and promote cross-training.
* Host a cleanup day to rid your office of old files, furniture, etc. Clean keyboards, cubicle panels, walls and doors, among a host of other things. Have your team take pride in its environment and workspaces.
* Now’s the time to host a “bring your child to work” day or week, but make sure you have a manageable program.
* Organize cross-department tours so everyone in the company can learn what goes on in the various departments.
* Host the company picnic, summer party or staff barbecue. Thank your staff members, and get them geared up for the fall selling season.
* Plan training exercises in your call center where reps use role-playing to critique and learn from each other.
* Engage all in planning and preparing for the busier season ahead.
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Terence Jukes is president of Ability Commerce, a 140-person firm that designs, builds and runs e-commerce and related marketing programs for catalog companies. He can be reached at TerryJ@AbilityCommerce.com.