Preparing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Six Tips to Ensure Effective Business Communications Systems

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Easy Office Phone presents tips for retailers to achieve business readiness for the holiday onslaught.

While retailers focus heavily on marketing and merchandising products and services, many fail to strategically implement the tools needed to cover the entire shopper experience.

Easy Office Phone, the leading provider of award-winning cloud-based business phone services, today released tips for retailers to achieve business readiness for the holiday onslaught. By implementing the right tools and communications systems, retailers can ensure that business and customer care run smoothly during the year’s biggest revenue-generating season.

In today’s virtual world, businesses must mind not only the crowd, but also the cloud. One critical way to get ahead of the holiday blitz is by moving to a cloud-based phone service. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday quickly approach, companies must start preparing for consumer demand by making sure that customer care is top notch and that call centers are prepared to deal with increased customer requests.

“After the shopping bonanza comes the surge of customer returns and requests. While retailers focus heavily on marketing and merchandising products and services, many fail to have the foresight to strategically implement the tools needed to cover the entire shopper experience – from point of purchase to consumer care,” said Adam Simpson, CEO of Easy Office Phone. “It’s vital for businesses to have the proper communications systems in place to handle consumer demands efficiently and effectively. Moving to a cloud-based phone service will enable businesses to provide excellent customer care this holiday season.”

Easy Office Phone provides the following tips for retailers to ensure effective communications systems during the holiday shopping season:

1)    Use call queuing – 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.

2)    Set target service levels and measure results – 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 the target service levels feature will report how frequently your targets are actually being met in practice.

3)    Use tracking and reporting tools – 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.

4)    Consider implementing “spillover” queues – 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 Tip 3 to ensure the accuracy of payments to these temporary agents.

5)    Use your phone service provider’s Web interface – Companies with discrete product and service offerings may need separate phone numbers and call queues for each in order to handle requested volume. Use your 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.

6)    Announce approximate wait times – 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.

For more information please visit: http://www.easyofficephone.com/plans/virtual-call-center.

About Easy Office Phone
Easy Office Phone provides award-winning cloud-based business phone service to companies of all sizes. Consistently ranked among the top providers in North America for customer satisfaction, Easy Office Phone offers cost savings over traditional telecom, an incredible Hosted PBX feature set, friendly customer support and a reliable continent-wide network. Customers can control their service from anywhere, at any time, via a user-friendly web interface. For call centers, the service offers powerful call queuing along with extensive tracking and reporting tools. The company's Dealer Program lets technology firms offer enterprise-grade Hosted PBX to their own clients, opening up new revenue streams.

For more information please visit: http://www.easyofficephone.com.

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Carol Lee
Easy Office Phone
since: 11/2010
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