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    Six Tips for Effective Customer Communications During Peak Seasons

    With Black Friday and Cyber Monday fast approaching, retailers need to implement the right tools and communications systems to ensure that their businesses and customer care run smoothly during one of the year’s busiest seasons. Easy Office Phone, a provider of cloud-based business phone services, shares six tips on how retailers can ensure effective communications systems for the holiday shopping onslaught.

    Six Tips for Effective Customer Communications During Peak Seasons - slide 1

    Click through for six tips to help ensure business and customer care runs smoothly during peak seasons, as identified by Easy Office Phone.

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    Queues are a powerful tool for handling calls in an orderly and efficient manner. Call queuing allows you to distribute calls to multiple staff as calls arrive, and will also hold calls in priority sequence if all agents are occupied. You can easily change which agents belong to a given queue, and even offer call preference to your top performers using skills-based routing.

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    Responsiveness is critical during peak shopping periods as consumers will gladly shop at a competitor if your team can’t get to them in time. Determine an optimum response time and use a target service-level feature to report how frequently your targets are actually being met in practice.

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    In addition to target service levels, use deep tracking and reporting tools to understand how your contact center teams are performing across a wide range of metrics, including areas for improvement. Remember to make these evaluations in advance of the busiest days, so you can make any needed adjustments without added pressure. Metrics can include: total number of calls, how many calls were answered versus abandoned, average hold time, average call length, and more. A good tracking and reporting suite will include the ability to easily export data to your favorite spreadsheet format.

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    Anticipate that at some point the influx of Black Friday or Cyber Monday calls will overwhelm your staff, despite their best efforts. The ideal solution is a spillover or backup queue that will receive those excess calls and pass them to a second group of agents who are standing by for this contingency. Additionally, if your business brings on staff on a temporary basis, and pays them based on calls taken, you can use the tracking and reporting tools from the previous tip to ensure the accuracy of payments to these temporary agents.

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    Companies with discrete product and service offerings may need separate phone numbers and call queues for each in order to handle requested volume. Use a cloud-based phone service provider’s Web interface to ensure that each product or service has a unique phone number, which points to a call queue staffed by appropriately trained agents.

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    Assume that your shoppers may not be patient enough to tolerate a reasonable hold time. Be sure to provide them with a rough idea of when they can expect to reach an agent. This feature is easy to implement through your phone service provider’s Web interface.

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