I thought it was a good question: “Matt, do you want me to send out an e-mail to our customers to tell them there may be limited support during the winter storm, like we do during the holidays?”
It made sense to me. We surely weren’t going to be in the office (the roads are treacherous). So my mind immediately went to how we operate over the holidays.
But even before I was finished asking, I knew it was a silly question. Matt Holland, the director of customized solutions for Practical Software Solutions, was shaking his head halfway through my question. The technical and support staffs would be working as normal.
As I walked away, it dawned on me what the difference is. During the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s), we are generally short-staffed. This is one of the best things about working for Practical, because the owners/management understand that the holidays are all about family. We all can’t take vacations at the same time — especially the technical and support staff — but having time off is a wonderful luxury to have in our business, especially at the end of the year.
For our customers, the end of the year is an important time. For our growers, the poinsettia season comes to its apex after Thanksgiving, on top off preparing for the spring rush. Some of our B-to-C manufacturers ramp up production for gift items during this time. Then there’s year-end preparations that need to be done on the software for all of our customers, whether they’re Sage ERP, Sage Construction and Real Estate, or Sage HRMS customers.
So heading into Thanksgiving, we let our customers know to use our main support e-mail during the holidays so they can be sure to get in touch with the support person on call. It may not be the person they’re used to working with, but at least their issue will get resolved in a timely fashion.
But the difference here with Snowpocolapse 2014 is that nobody’s on vacation, so the show must go on. Everyone has laptops as their main work computer, and everyone has access to all their work.* We can provide just as much support from our homes as we can from our desks. (Although, there may be a few coffee breaks here and there to not miss an opportunity to build a snowman.)
So to our customers, we’re still here, and we’re still working.
* Disclaimer: There is a possibility that we may lose power or internet connection in our area due to snow or ice. If that happens, we will help our customers the best we can.